ENID, Okla. — Garfield, Grant, Kingfisher and Major counties all reported new cases of COVID-19, as the official total of positive test results nears 1,000 in Oklahoma, according to the state health department on Friday, April 3, 2020.

Four more deaths were reported statewide for a total of 38, with the number of COVID-19 cases increasing to 988 and 289 hospitalizations.

Garfield County now has 5 cases documented through the health department, while Grant and Major counties added 1 each and Kingfisher County now has three, OSDH reports.

Woodward County Health Department and Oklahoma State Department of Health announced the first confirmed COVID-19 case in that county Wednesday night. Texas County also has a confirmed case.

Fifty-six of Oklahoma's 77 counties are reporting cases, according to OSDH. There have been 1,315 test negative for the virus through the OSDH State Public Health Laboratory.

COVID testing Enid

Information is attached to the windshield of a truck going through the drive-through COVID-19 testing site Friday, April 3, 2020, at Chisholm Trail Expo Center.

Thirty to forty cars were lined up at a testing site at the Garfield County Expo Center in Enid Friday morning. Testing is reserved for only those at highest risk. In order to be tested one must be 18 years old or older and have fever greater than 100.4 degrees and a cough or shortness of breath. Testing was scheduled to continue at the center until 2 p.m.

The state now has supplies to test more than 13,000 individuals for COVID-19, according to OSDH's Thursday update. Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Gary Cox and Gov. Kevin Stitt are urging health care providers and testing centers to loosen testing requirements and offer testing to any Oklahoman with symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, shortness of breath or cough.

Pursuant to Governor Stitt issuing a catastrophic health emergency yesterday, 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.

State numbers

The number of positive tests in Oklahoma increased by 109 from Thursday's OSDH update, a rise of 12%. The number of positive cases have continued to rise since the first case was reported in the state on March 6 and as more testing occurs.

The latest deaths announced by OSDH on Friday were four females all older than 65 — one in Cleveland County and three in Tulsa County, according to OSDH. 

Of those who have died, 28 have been older than 65, 8 have been in the 50-64 age range and 2 have been in the 36-49 age range. Deaths have been Canadian, Cleveland, Creek, Greer, Kay, Mayes, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Osage, Pawnee, Sequoyah, Stevens, Tulsa and Wagoner counties, OSDH reports.

Ages of patients range from 0 to 96 years old, with a median range of 57. There are 12 cases in the 0-4 range, 12 in the 5-17 range, 154 in the 18-35 range, 204 in the 36-49 range, 266 in the 50-64 range and 340 in the 65 and older range, according to OSDH. Of those testing positive, 510 are female and 478 are male. 

Positive tests per county in the state are 237 in Oklahoma County; 175 in Tulsa County; 130 in Cleveland County; 39 in Creek County; 33 in Comanche County; 30 in Wagoner County, 29 in Canadian County; 28 in Washington County; 25 in Kay County; 21 in Osage County; 18 in Payne County; 16 each in Muskogee and Pawnee counties; 14 in Adair County; 11 each in Delaware and Pottawatomie counties; 10 each in McClain and Rogers counties; 8 each in Garvin, Ottawa and Stevens counties; 7 each in Cherokee, Lincoln, Nowata, Okmulgee and Pontotoc counties; 5 each in Custer, Garfield, Grady, Greer, Logan, Mayes and Noble counties; 4 each in Cotton, Jackson and Sequoyah counties; 3 each in Bryan and Kingfisher counties; 2 each in Caddo, Craig, Latimer, Love and Pittsburg counties; and 1 each in Atoka, Beckham, Carter, Choctaw, Grant, Kiowa, LeFlore, Major, McCurtain, Seminole, Texas, Washita and Woodward counties, according to OSDH information released Friday morning.

Garfield County cases

Both St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center each have reported 1 case of COVID-19 under isolated treatment at their facilities this week.

Integris Bass confirmed it still has one patient and no discharges as of Friday.

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.

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.

Drive-through testing

Garfield County Health Department will host a drive-through testing clinic 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Chisholm Trail Expo Center, 111 W. Purdue.

Supplies are limited, and tests will focus on individuals at highest risk.

In order to be tested you must be 18 years old or older, and have fever greater than 100.4 degrees, and a cough or shortness of breath.

Only one person per household will be tested, and only one person per vehicle will be tested.

The Health Department advises people to not come for testing if they have been in contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.

The testing clinic is offered in partnership with the city of Enid, Enid and Garfield County Emergency Management, Garfield County Sheriff's Office, Life EMS and other community partners. The clinic may close earlier than planned, depending on the availability of supplies. 

Oklahoma State Department of Health is working to open additional drive-through COVID-19 testing locations across the state. 

Testing sites will be open through Friday, April 3, 2020, at Woodward, Altus and Lawton, according to OSDH.

• 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Woodward County Event Center.

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Western Oklahoma State College, Altus.

• 2-4 p.m. at the Urgent Care Clinic, 3811 W. Gore, Lawton.

Criteria for testing at these sites include individuals who are 18 or older; not having close contact, within 6 feet, of anyone who has tested postive in the last 14 days and who are experiencing a fever greater than 100.4 and a cough and shortness of breath. Only one specimen per household is allowed. 

Testing is also available at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a physician referral and by appointment only.

Drive-through testing sites were established in Kay, Oklahoma, Pittsburg and Tulsa counties last week, as a result of a cross-county, city and state health system partnership, according to OSDH. 

Screenings in Kay and Pittsburg counties are by appointment only. Supplies are limited, and testing is reserved for those who are considered vulnerable or are showing symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Instructions for drive-up service will be provided when an appointment is made. Testing sites are at 433 Fairview Ave, Ponca City, (580) 762-1651 in Kay County, and 1400 E. College Ave., McAlester, (918) 423-1267 in Pittsburg County.

In Tulsa County, screenings will be by appointment only at the drive-through site. Vulnerable populations who are under- or uninsured should call the Tulsa Health Department for a phone screening. Insured patients need a referral from a health care provided. Instructions will be given at the time appointments are made. Call (918) 582-9355 for information.

In Oklahoma County, residents must be screened for COVID-19 by a medical provider and referred to the mobile testing site.

The testing sites will allow the state's medical professionals to gather public health data, outside of the hospital setting, while determining the projected capacity needed for effective COVID-19 testing throughout Oklahoma, according to an OSDH situation report.

OSDH also launched a website Friday to coordinate corporate donations across the state to get "critical protective equipment to health care professionals who are on the front lines of delivering COVID-19 care," according its situation update email on Saturday. The site is at https://ppedonation.ok.gov/.

“With the number of cases rising each day, the OSDH urges the public to follow the Governor's ‘Safer at Home’ executive order advising vulnerable populations and those over the age of 65 to stay home until April 30 and for non-essential businesses in counties with COVID-19 cases to temporarily suspend services until April 30,” the report states. “The CDC also recommends the public to stay home, practice social distancing, hand washing, and specifically for those who are sick to isolate for up to 14 days.”

State supplies

By the end of Monday, the state received more than 60 percent 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," 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 said last week that 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; 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.

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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.

Statewide actions

Governor Kevin Stitt announced during a press conference March 24 that all non-essential businesses in 19 counties must close by the end of Wednesday, March 25.

The closures are part of a series of sweeping actions to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state as the number of cases and deaths continued to tick upward. Stitt also banned all gatherings of 10 or more statewide and ordered all elderly and vulnerable Oklahomans to stay home until April 30. He suspended all elective and non-emergent surgeries.

COVID-19 is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in late-2019. Cases of the virus have since spread globally into a pandemic. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. While roughly 80% of cases report mild symptoms, some progress into severe pneumonia and multi-organ failure that can led to death, according to information on the OSDH website.

"Current data indicates the risk of death for those contracting COVID-19 notably increases for individuals above the age of 60 or for individuals with autoimmune conditions," according to OSDH.

On January 11, 2020, the first set of individuals in the United States tested positive for COVID-19. The virus has since spread across all 50 states, and the number testing positive continues to increase.

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the Governor’s Solution Task Force — a multiagency group of experts and support personnel to enhance Oklahoma’s comprehensive response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stitt said goals include protecting the health and lives of Oklahomans, mitigating economic impact and initiating a full recovery effort.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma National Guard activated the Joint Task Force at the Oklahoma National Guard Regional Training Institute in Oklahoma City.

Comprised of members of both the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard, that task force is laying groundwork for possible support missions, said Brig. Gen. Tommy Mancino, executive director of the Oklahoma Military Department and the Oklahoma National Guard assistant adjutant general.



 

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