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Oklahoma tops 50 COVID-19 deaths as case numbers continue to rise


ENID, Okla. — More than 50 deaths, including 5 reported Monday, have been linked to the coronavirus COVID-19 in Oklahoma as the number of cases continued to rise, but at a reduced rate, according to the latest numbers from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

There were 1,327 cases of COVID-19 in the state Monday, April 6, 2020, an increase of just 6% over numbers reported Sunday. It was the smallest percent of increase in days reported by OSDH, which over the weekend received more than 6,000 negative COVID-19 tests dating back to February that officials hope will provide a full picture of total testing in the state in days to come.

State numbers
The number of positive tests in Oklahoma increased by 75 from Sunday's OSDH report. The number of positive cases has continued to rise since the first case was reported in the state on March 6, 2020, and as more testing occurs. 

There were no additional positive tests recorded in Garfield County and no deaths have occurred in Northwest Oklahoma, according to OSDH. There were 98 tests taken during a Garfield County drive-through event on Friday, but officials are expecting testing results to take at least 4-5 days. 

OSDH has recorded positive COVID-19 tests in 58 of Oklahoma's 77 counties. Of the 1,327 cases, 340 have been hospitalized, according to OSDH.

There have been 1,422 Oklahomans who have tested negative for the virus through the State Public Health Laboratory, which has recorded 188 positive tests. Other positive tests have been recorded at Diagnostic Laboratory of Oklahoma, 222, and other laboratories, 917, according to OSDH. More than 11,000 negative texts have been process by private labs since early February, the Health Department said in a news release Monday evening.

One of the five latest deaths announced by OSDH on Monday was the first from the 18-35 age group, a man in Oklahoma County. Four Oklahomans who died were older than 65 — a man and a woman in Greer County, a woman in Osage County and a man in Pottawatomie County. 

Of those who have died, 38 have been older than 65, 10 have been in the 50-64 age range, 2 have been in the 36-49 age range and 1 has been in the 18-35 age group. More men in the state, 29, have died than women, 22. Deaths have been reported in 18 counties: Canadian, Cleveland, Creek, Greer, Kay, Latimer, Mayes, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Osage, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Seminole, Sequoyah, Stevens, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington counties, OSDH reports.

Ages of patients range from 0 to 102 years old, with a median range of 56. There are 14 cases in the 0-4 range, 22 in the 5-17 range, 232 in the 18-35 range, 276 in the 36-49 range, 345 in the 50-64 range and 438 in the 65 and older range, according to OSDH. Of those testing positive, 694 are female and 633 are male. 

Positive tests per county in the state are 279 in Oklahoma County; 249 in Tulsa County; 180 in Cleveland County; 49 in Wagoner County; 45 in Creek County; 41 in Comanche County; 39 in Washington County; 35 in Canadian County; 31 in Osage County; 30 in Kay County; 26 in Greer County; 22 in Pawnee County; 21 in Payne County; 20 each in Adair and Muskogee counties; 15 in Rogers County; 14 in Cherokee County; 13 each in Delaware and Pottawatomie counties; 12 each in McClain and Ottawa counties; 11 each in Okmulgee and Stephens counties; 10 each in Garvin and Mayes counties; 9 each in Lincoln and Nowata counties; 8 each in Grady and Pontotoc counties; 7 in Sequoyah County; 6 each in Logan, Noble and Pittsburg counties; 5 each in Caddo, Craig, Custer and Garfield counties; 4 each in Cotton, Jackson and Latimer and counties; 3 each in Bryan, Kingfisher, Seminole and Texas counties; 2 each in Choctaw and Love counties; and 1 each in Atoka, Beckham, Carter, Grant, Jefferson, Kiowa, LeFlore, Major, McCurtain, McIntosh, Tillman and Woodward counties, according to OSDH information released Monday morning.

Enid area numbers
Garfield County has five cases documented through the health department, while Kingfisher County has three and Grant, Major and Woodward have one each. There have not been any positive tests recorded through OSDH in Alfalfa, Blaine or Woods counties.

The city of Kingfisher and town of Canton have implemented curfews in response to the pandemic. Kingfisher's ordered curfew is 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. daily, except for individuals working in an “essential business” or in an emergency. For the full Kingfisher emergency order, go to https://tinyurl.com/Kingfisher0402. In Canton, a curfew has been issued from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily until further notice.

Kingfisher declared a state of emergency in the city on April 2, superseding its earlier March 18 order, that includes a "stay at home order" with exceptions that include essential business; errands for essentials like groceries, medicine and needed household items; and outdoor activities with social distancing.

On March 27, Enid Mayor George Pankonin signed an amended emergency declaration that took effect the night of March 28, including a stay-at-home order, closure of non-essential businesses and closure of city of Enid facilities. The next day the first positive test was reported in Garfield County.

State testing
Drive-through testing by Northwest Oklahoma health departments are being conducted 2-4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 511 Barnes St. in Alva and 1631 Texas Ave. in Woodward. Friday testing is 8-10:30 a.m. in Alva and 8-9:30 a.m. in Woodward. Contact numbers are (580) 327-3192, Alva, and (580) 256-6416, Woodward. For a full list of county drive-through testing, go to https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/drive-thru-testing.

Pursuant to Governor Stitt issuing a catastrophic health emergency Thursday, April 2, 2020, the state health department said it will continue reporting numbers "and ultimately notify first responders if the address they are responding to corresponds to an address of a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19."

In order to comply with state and federal privacy requirements, the patient's name will stay protected.

OSDH is working with the Office of Emergency Management to channel the information to the 911 dispatch system through processes already in place. 

In addition to county health departments operating testing sites, OSDH's central warehouse is operating seven days a week to address emergency personal protective equipment (PPE) and to meet supply needs of medical system providers, local health departments, emergency management and first responders.

Warehouse operations involve the efforts of OSDH staff, Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers, Regional Medical Response System and Oklahoma Department of Forestry drivers who are moving equipment from the federal Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and incoming supplies ordered by the state "to support the needs of frontline workers in Oklahoma," according to an OSDH update on Sunday, April 5, 2020.

Recruiting volunteers
The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps (OKMRC) is recruiting volunteers to serve in medical and non-medical positions, in anticipation of a medical surge and prolonged response to the coronavirus pandemic.

OKMRC volunteer services focus on medical services and healthcare, but you "do not need to be trained in a healthcare field to contribute to the mission,” according to the OKMRC website.

OKMRC utilizes volunteer team members with expertise in areas including:

• Practicing and retired medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, pharmacists, hospital-based workers, nurses' assistants, veterinarians, dentists, and others with health/medical training.

• Retired and working professionals in the fields of public health.

• Community citizens without medical training who can assist the primary health teams with administrative services, communications, record-keeping, and many other essential support functions.

"As an MRC volunteer, you'll become informed about and oriented to your community's emergency procedures, trauma response techniques, use of specialized equipment, and other information that increases your effectiveness as a member of the team,” according to the website.

Training is provided for all volunteers, and volunteers must submit to a background check.

For more information on OKMRC volunteering, go to https://www.okmrc.org/volunteering. The application to volunteer is available at https://www.okmrc.org/application.

Garfield County cases
Both St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center each have reported one case of COVID-19 under isolated treatment at their facilities this week.

Integris Bass confirmed it still has one patient who has tested positive from COVID-19 and no known deaths from the virus as of Saturday, April 4, 2020.

St. Mary's Regional Medical Center has declined to provide updated information on COVID-19 patients and deaths in its facility.

Garfield County Health Department cannot release information concerning those in the county who have COVID-19, due to state and federal privacy requirements, said Maggie Jackson, OSDH regional director of community engagement and health planning.

Shelley Zumwalt who is working with OSDH, said she had no information from Garfield County hospitals but that the agency is 'working to provide city specific data" and hopes to have that in place this week.

Health department officials are in contact with those residents who are confirmed positive to monitor their health and advise them concerning the virus, she said.

"We investigate potential contacts and advise them on isolation and reducing the risk of infecting others," she said, adding the Garfield County Health Department and its partners are "committed to doing all we can to protect the community."

"We are working with our partners to facilitate further testing, educating the public how to reduce the risk of infection and transmission, facilitating dissemination of limited PPE and advocating for each individual to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19," Jackson said.

Several business and organizations in Enid have closed to the public in an attempt to stop the spread of the deadly virus. St. Mary's has set up a tent in front of its emergency department to screen non-emergency patients, staff and physicians. Integris Bass Baptist Health Center currently is screening patients in its Emergency Department, its main lobby and via curbside check-ins at its Medical Plaza, a hospital spokesperson said Tuesday. Curbside check-in is being implemented at Bass' heart and vascular, urgent care and OB/GYN facilities.

Local health and emergency officials are urging residents to stay in their homes or isolated as much as possible. Some exceptions include grocery shopping, health appointments or essential work.

State supplies
By the end of Monday, the state received more than 60% of its personal protective equipment (PPE) order, including gloves, gowns face/eye protection and masks, from the federal government's Strategic National Stockpile, and the state expects to be at 100 percent in the next few days, according to the OSDH.

On Sunday, officials moved 700 cases of protection equipment to regional warehouses established to resupply medical system providers. OSDH reports because of a national shortage, all gear from the Strategic National Stockpile will be reserved for hospitals that have ICU beds and persons who have tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

Officials anticipate larger shipments of PPE, to include additional N95 masks, in the next week from the private market.

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Sunday evening issued a sixth amendment to his executive order that now requires travelers from six states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Louisiana and Washington —  to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The order also requires delivery personnel to submit to screenings when making deliveries at hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities and daycares and protects health care workers and their families from discrimination in housing or child care.

All 77 of Oklahoma's counties fall under Stitt's "Safer at Home" order until April 30 that bans gatherings in groups larger than 10 and calls for people older than 65 and those with a compromised immune system stay home. Individuals who need to undertake essential errands, such as grocery shopping and picking up medication, may do so.

Law enforcement in some cities, including Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman, have been asked to enforce the governor's order and shelter-in-place policies, according to OSDH.

Resources and information on COVID-19 can be obtained by calling 211 or going to https://covidresources.ok.gov/.

Enid emergency
On March 27, Enid Mayor George Pankonin signed an amended emergency declaration that took effect the night of March 28, including a stay-at-home order, closure of non-essential businesses and closure of city of Enid facilities. The next day the first positive test was reported in Garfield County.

"I anticipated that a positive test result was imminent, so I upgraded our Emergency Declaration on Friday," Latest Oklahoma News Pankonin said March 29 after being notified about the Garfield County case. “Now that we have in fact had a positive test result, I will review our current declaration to determine if more should be done to proactively protect the public and amend the proclamation as necessary. I will meet with health care experts, city staff and other leaders (Monday) and make changes as necessary.”

In a March 28 Facebook post, Enid Police Department said citizens will benefit from voluntarily complying with the rules set out by the city’s emergency declaration, the governor’s executive orders and the president’s coronavirus guidelines for America.



“While it is true that the Enid Police Department has the authority to enforce these rules, we are asking for everyone to pull together and take the necessary precautions,” EPD posted. “We all, every citizen in Enid and Garfield County, want the same thing and it can only happen if we work together.”

A local bar owner recently was fined for violating the city of Enid's emergency management plan in response to the COVID-19 health emergency. Enid police say they are asking businesses and residents to abide by the declaration.

EPD said it has no plans to conduct checkpoints or traffic stops to inquire about a citizen’s “papers.”

“We’ve heard that some businesses are giving documents to their workers to validate their employment at essential businesses,” EPD posted. “That may be the case, but at this point we aren’t going to ask and it isn’t required.

“Please stay at home unless absolutely necessary. If the grocery store is busy shop another time, limit your risk and the risk to others. Follow social distancing guidelines, check on your neighbors and the elderly, stay healthy, and wash your hands.”

On March 19, Garfield County commissioners passed an emergency declaration for public access to the Garfield County Court House and all other Garfield County facilities.

“We have taken precautions at the jail by limiting public access and screening the jailers and new arrestees,” Sheriff Jody Helm said Sunday. “Luckily, we don’t have any sickness at the jail as of right now. The jail has K95 masks and surgical masks and are disinfecting routinely. The Sheriff’s Office has done the same as far as limiting access along with disinfecting, we are still answering calls but are following social distancing when possible while using masks.

“It was inevitable that Garfield County would get COVID-19 at some point, and It seems Garfield County Is doing a good job taking this seriously. Keep all first responders and medical staff in your thoughts and prayers because they are the heroes in this difficult time.”

Enid hospitals
Enid hospitals have reported they are testing for COVID-19 based on criteria established by the CDC.

“Testing kits are available and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center is testing patients who are symptomatic and meet testing guidelines,” Boyd said. “Laboratories are prioritizing results, with hospitalized patients symptomatic with COVID-19 processed first.”

Integris Bass has been and is testing patents for coronavirus in accordance with the same testing guidelines, said Tania Warnock, marketing project lead.

Both hospitals have reported they currently are treating one patient each who has tested positive for COVID-19 and who is in isolation.

Criteria for testing is based on the CDC clinical criteria, she said, which include hospitalized patients and symptomatic health care workings as priority 1; Press Release Distribution Service patients with symptoms who are in longterm care facilities, 65 years or older, underlying conditions and first responders as priority 2; and critical infrastructure workers with symptoms, individuals with symptoms, health care workers and first responders and individuals with mild symptoms in communities experiencing a high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations as priority 3.

Persons without symptoms are considered non-priority based on CDC guidelines.

Those developing symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath or cough should contact their medical professionals or call the COVID-19 Call Center at (877) 215-8336 or 211 for assistance.

"Patients are encouraged to consult their physician or public health professional about their symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Clinicians may recommend testing for other respiratory illnesses, including flu, before recommending a COVID-19 test," according to the OSDH website. Those who are uninsured an call 211 for community resources. 


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