Nearly 10 months from when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Oklahoma, the state on Tuesday released data to The Frontier detailing the dates when 2,549 people died from the virus.
The release came after the Oklahoma State Department of Health had previously denied reporters’ requests for the information, citing the patient privacy law known as HIPAA. The newly-released data shows the dates that COVID-19 deaths occurred in 2020 and was acquired through a request under the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
Previous to the release, the state only released data on the dates fatalities were confirmed or when the deceased individual became sick or tested positive for COVID-19. The Oklahoma State Department of Health also included a chart of deaths by date in weekly reports.
For months, states like Texas, Arizona, Virginia and Florida have made such data publicly available.
In analyzing the data, The Frontier will work to examine daily death tolls, and the virus’ trajectory in Oklahoma. Understanding the death toll is important in interpreting the pandemic’s impact on the state.
Though COVID-19 is not deadly to most people, the pandemic is widespread and worsening in Oklahoma. The reported number of deaths within the state by day is a clearer tracker of the virus’ path.
On Wednesday, the state reported a record 62 new deaths, and a total of 2,633 fatalities had been reported in Oklahoma. It’s not yet clear when those 62 deaths occurred.
December was the deadliest month of the pandemic so far, when 561 Oklahomans died, the data shows.
The Frontier is making the data available for download here. The data, which spans from March 18 to Dec. 31, is not a final count and will change as deaths are reported and classified, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The Frontier will continue to request the data and update it when available.