ENID, Okla. — Twelve more Oklahomans have died due to COVID-19, while the number of those testing positive rose by 52 for a total of 1,524 in the state since the first official case was reported more than a month ago, according to Oklahoma State Department of Health.
None of the new cases nor deaths reported by OSDH on Wednesday were from Northwest Oklahoma counties. The number of cases remained the same in Garfield, Grant, Kingfisher, Major and Woodward counties. There have been no deaths in the area and no cases officially recorded in Alfalfa, Blaine and Woods counties, according to OSDH.
Nearly 800 of the state's COVID-19 cases remained active in the state Tuesday, based on an OSDH report, which also places those who have recovered from the virus at more than 600. Of those Oklahomans who have contracted the virus, 14.1%, or 208, reported working in or having direct patient care in a health care or longterm care setting, OSDH reported Tuesday night.
OSDH has recorded positive COVID-19 tests in 61 of Oklahoma's 77 counties. Of the 1,524 cases, 390 have been hospitalized, according to OSDH, which also reported that 186 were hospitalized as of Tuesday afternoon, with 137 of those in intensive care. Hospitals in the state still have 419 of 977, or 43%, of their ICU beds available and 843 of 1,081, or 78%, of its ventilators, according to OSDH.
There have been 79 deaths due to the COVID-19 virus in the state, according to OSDH.
Of the 12 latest deaths announced by OSDH on Wednesday, 11 were older than 65 — two women and two men from Oklahoma County; two men from Tulsa County, three men from Cleveland, Kay and Wagoner counties; and two women from Adair and Greer counties. One man in the 36-49 age group died in Cleveland County, OSDH reports.
The average age of those who have died is listed at 71.9, with 63 older than 65, 11 in the 50-64 age range, 3 in the 36-49 age range and 2 in the 18-35 age group. More men in the state, 42, have died than women, 37. Of those who have died, 62.7 percent had a pre-existing condition, according to OSDH.
Sixteen deaths have been from patients in longterm care/nursing home cases, according to OSDH Tuesday. There have not been any cases reported in longterm care facilities or nursing homes in Northwest Oklahoma, according to a list of facilities provided by the health department.
Deaths have been reported in 20 counties: Adair, Canadian, Cherokee, Cleveland, Creek, Greer, Kay, Latimer, Mayes, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Osage, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Seminole, Sequoyah, Stevens, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington counties, OSDH reports.
Ages of patients with COVID-19 range from 0 to 102 years old, with a median range of 56. There are 15 cases in the 0-4 range, 25 in the 5-17 range, 264 in the 18-35 range, 315 in the 36-49 range, 402 in the 50-64 range and 503 in the 65 and older range, according to OSDH. Of those testing positive, 802 are female and 722 are male.
Positive tests per county in the state are 317 in Oklahoma County; 293 in Tulsa County; 212 in Cleveland County; 57 in Wagoner County; 47 in Creek County; 45 in Washington County; 44 in Comanche County; 40 in Canadian County; 33 each in Kay and Osage counties; 32 in Greer County; 25 in Adair County; 24 in Payne County; 23 in Pawnee County; 21 in Muskogee County; 20 in Pottawatomie County; 19 in Rogers County; 16 in Cherokee County; 15 each in McClain and Ottawa counties; 13 in Delaware County; 12 in Mayes County; 11 each in Garvin, Okmulgee and Stephens counties; 10 each in Lincoln, Nowata and Sequoyah counties; 9 each in Grady and Pontotoc counties; 7 in Pittsburg County; 6 each in Caddo, Jackson, Logan and Noble counties; 5 each in Craig, Custer and Garfield counties; 4 each in Cotton, Latimer and Seminole counties; 3 each in Bryan, Kingfisher and Texas counties; 2 each in Choctaw, Love and McCurtain counties; and 1 each in Atoka, Beaver, Beckham, Carter, Dewey, Grant, Jefferson, Kiowa, LeFlore, Major, Marshall, McIntosh, Tillman and Woodward counties, according to OSDH information released Tuesday morning.
There have been 1,479 Oklahomans who have tested negative for the virus through the State Public Health Laboratory, which has recorded 189 positive tests. Positive tests also have been recorded at Diagnostic Laboratory of Oklahoma, 262, and other laboratories, 1,073, according to OSDH.
The Public Health Laboratory at OSDH continues to process more than 12,000 negative COVID-19 test results received from private labs dating back to February, according to Wednesday's situation update sent via email.
"Numbers will be added to this daily report once all results are processed through the system," according to OSDH.
Garfield County cases
Both St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center each reported one case of COVID-19 under isolated treatment at their facilities in March.
Integris Bass confirmed it still has one patient who has tested positive from COVID-19 and no known deaths from the virus as of Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
St. Mary's Regional Medical Center has declined to provide updated information on COVID-19 patients and deaths in its facility.
An Integris Bass spokeswoman said Wednesday that the hospital requested Enid Police Department to provide extra patrols and watch for traffic control issues because of curbside check-ins of all patients at the clinics and hospitals.
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.
Northwest Oklahoma testing
Testing is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 8, at Kingfisher County Fairgrounds, 300 S. 13th, (405) 375-3008.
Drive-through testing is being conducted by appointment only for Garfield County, 2501 S. Mercer, Enid, (580) 233-0650; Grant County, 115 N. Main, Medford, (580) 395-2906; Major County, 501 E. Broadway, Fairview, (580) 227-3362; Woods County, 511 Barnes St., Alva, (580) 327-3192; and Woodward County, 1631 Texas Ave., Woodward, (580) 256-6416. 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.
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.
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/.
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 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; 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.
BREAKING NEWS on the COVID-19 threat and its impact is available at https://www.enidnews.com/virus and is free for all readers. That includes information on closings and cancellations.
Get full-access breaking news via text alerts at https://enidnews.com/textalerts.
•• For more local, state, national and global COVID-19 pandemic news, go to https://enidnews.com/news/covid19.
•• All breaking news is fully accessible on the Enid News & Eagle website.