ENID, Okla. — The number of COVID-19 cases has topped 2,000 in the state, with 99 deaths reported from the virus since the first positive test was reported March 6 by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
COVID-19 cases continued to rise from 1,970 on Sunday to 2,069 on Monday, an increase of 99, or just more than 5%, OSDH reported. The deaths of two men in Canadian and Kay counties and a woman in Canadian County were reported Monday morning by OSDH. All three were older than 65.
In Northwest Oklahoma, Alfalfa County recorded its first case, and Garfield and Kingfisher counties each saw an increase of one in the official number of positive tests, bringing their totals to 7 and 6 cases, respectively.
Integris Bass Baptist Health Center in Enid, which had been treating two patients with COVID-19, reported Monday one had been released and the other still was being treated. St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Enid initially reported one patient on March 29 but is declining to announce any further information regarding COVID-19 patients. OSDH officials say they do not have information in place yet concerning rural Oklahoma hospitals.
Grant County has 2 cases and Major and Woodward counties each have 1 case. There have been no cases officially recorded by OSDH in Blaine or Woods counties.
The health department confirmed in its executive report to the governor on Friday that a Kingfisher nursing facility has one reported case of the virus.
Judy Jay, administrator for First Shamrock Care Center, in Kingfisher, said Monday that she had no information to release regarding the patient who tested positive at the facility, but the center does take precautions when it comes to contagion.
"We do isolate. We do protect all our residents, as well," Jay said, adding the facility also is testing. She referred all other questions to the state Health Department.
OSDH reported Monday it is ramping up efforts to work with longterm care facilities through onsite consultation, assessment and training to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in facilities.
Of the state's 99 deaths, 80 have been older than 65, 14 have been ages 50 to 64, 3 have been ages 36-49 and 2 have been ages 18-35, according to OSDH. More men, 54, than women, 45, have died.
OSDH confirmed Friday, April 10, that an 86-year-old woman who died in Garfield County in the first week of April was positive for COVID-19.
Deaths have been reported in 21 counties: Adair, Canadian, Cherokee, Cleveland, Creek, Garfield, Greer, Kay, Latimer, Mayes, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Osage, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Seminole, Sequoyah, Stevens, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington, OSDH reports.
OSDH recorded positive COVID-19 tests in 63 of Oklahoma's 77 counties on Monday. There have been 457 hospitalizations since COVID-19 was detected in the state, with four more reported Monday over Sunday numbers released by OSDH.
Ages of patients with COVID-19 range from 0 to 102 years old, with a median range of 56. There are 20 cases in the 0-4 range, 32 in the 5-17 range, 371 in the 18-35 range, 423 in the 36-49 range, 527 in the 50-64 range and 696 in the 65 and older range, according to OSDH. Of those testing positive, 1,140 are women and 929 are men.
Positive tests per county in the state are 455 in Oklahoma County; 337 in Tulsa County; 267 in Cleveland County; 114 in Washington County; 73 in Wagoner County; 63 in Delaware County; 57 in Canadian County; 56 each in Creek and Osage counties; 51 in Comanche County; 50 in Greer County; 45 in Kay County; 29 in Payne County; 27 each in Adair and Pawnee counties; 26 in Pottawatomie County; 25 in Rogers County; 23 in Ottawa County; 22 in Muskogee County; 20 in Cherokee County; 19 in McClain County; 15 each in Mayes and Stephens counties; 14 in Okmulgee County; 11 each in Garvin, Grady and Sequoyah counties; 10 each in Lincoln, Nowata, Pittsburg and Pontotoc counties; 9 in Caddo County; 7 each in Craig, Garfield, Jackson, Logan and Seminole counties; 6 each in Custer, Kingfisher, McCurtain and Noble counties; 5 each in Cotton and Texas counties; 4 each in Bryan and Latimer counties; 3 in LeFlore County; 2 each in Choctaw, Grant, Kiowa and Love counties; and 1 each in Alfalfa, Atoka, Beaver, Beckham, Carter, Dewey, Jefferson, Major, Marshall, Murray, Okfuskee, Tillman and Woodward counties, according to OSDH information released Monday morning.
There have been 252 Oklahomans who have tested positive for the virus through the State Public Health Laboratory, 329 at Diagnostic Laboratory of Oklahoma and 1,483 at other laboratories, according to OSDH.
Gov. Kevin Stitt said on Friday, April 10, that state COVID-19 case forecasts have moved the state’s expected peak in cases up to April 21.
At the peak, the state Department of Health’s model predicts 915 hospitalizations and 458 Oklahomans in ICU beds. By May 1, the forecast predicts 9,300 Oklahomans will have tested positive for COVID-19 with 469 deaths.
OSDH continues to work with hospitals to prepare for a surge to the medical system in the coming weeks.
Local and area cases
St. Mary's set up a tent in front of its emergency department in late March to screen non-emergency patients, staff and physicians. Integris Bass Baptist Health Center is screening patients in its Emergency Department, its main lobby and via curbside check-ins at its Medical Plaza, a hospital spokesperson said April 7. Curbside check-in is being implemented at Bass' heart and vascular, urgent care and OB/GYN facilities. On April 8 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.
Garfield County Health Department officials reported Wednesday, April 8, that none of the 98 tests taken during a drive-through clinic in Enid Friday, April 3, tested positive for the virus.
Health department officials are in contact with those residents who are confirmed positive to monitor their health and advise them concerning the virus, Jackson 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. 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
Drive-through testing is being conducted by appointment only for Blaine County, 521 W. 4th, Watonga, (580) 623-7977; Garfield County, 2501 S. Mercer, Enid, (580) 233-0650; Grant County, 115 N. Main, Medford, (580) 395-2906; Kingfisher County, 124 E. Sheridan, courthouse annex room #101, Kingfisher, (405) 375-3008; Major County, 501 E. Broadway, Fairview, (580) 227-3362; Noble County, 300 Fir St., Perry, (580) 336-2257; 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. Some health department also advise the public to check their Facebook pages for more information regarding testing.
Those with symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, shortness of breath and coughing, should call ahead to local emergency rooms. Those with minor symptoms should contact their regular physicians.
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.
State and local emergency orders
All 77 of Oklahoma's counties fall under Oklahoma Gov. Kevin 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.
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.
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