ENID, Okla. — Garfield County has its first two official cases of coronavirus COVID-19, as the numbers increased to 429 and 16 deaths statewide, according the the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
One St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center patient is confirmed positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation, said Lori Boyd, director of marketing at St. Mary’s.
"We continue to work closely with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and are following appropriate protocols," Boyd said.
Although global supplies for testing are still limited, Garfield County Health Department has plans in place to operate a satellite testing site as soon as supplies are made available, said Maggie Jackson, Oklahoma State Department of Health regional director of community engagement and health planning.
“The Garfield County Health Department will continue to investigate COVID-19 cases and work to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in our community,” Jackson said. “We ask that our neighbors continue to stay home and do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our most vulnerable citizens,” Jackson said.
On Friday, the state announced procuring 10,000 COVID-19 test kits but will continue to prioritize its public health supply for Oklahomans who already are hospitalized or classified as most vulnerable to the virus.
Also on Friday, Enid Mayor George Pankonin signed an amended emergency declaration that took effect Saturday night, including a stay-at-home order, closure of non-essential businesses and closure of city of Enid facilities.
"I anticipated that a positive test result was imminent, so I upgraded our Emergency Declaration on Friday," Pankonin said after being notified about Garfield County Sunday morning. “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 Saturday 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.”
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.”
There are now 44 counties reporting cases of COVID-19, according to information released daily by OSDH. New counties reporting cases are Garfield, Rogers, Seminole and Texas.
"These counties will now be required to come into compliance with Governor Kevin Stitt's 'Safer at Home' executive order that calls for non-essential businesses in counties with COVID-19 cases to temporarily suspend services until April 16," according to an OSDH situation update.
There have been 140 hospitalized due to the virus, and the ages of patients range from 0-95 years old, with a median age of 59, according to OSDH. There are been 1,205 negative test results.
The latest death was a man in the 50-64 age range in Oklahoma County.
There are seven women and nine men who are known to have died in Oklahoma after contracting COVID-19 in the counties of Cleveland, Creek, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Sequoyah, Tulsa and Wagoner, OSDH reports. Eleven of those were older than 65, one was in the 36-49 age range and three were in the 50-64 age range.
Ages of patients range from 0 to 95 years old, with a median range of 59. There are 4 in the 0-4 range, 5 in the 5-17 range, 75 in the 18-35 range, 78 in the 36-49 range, 118 in the 50-64 range and 154 in the 65 and older range, according to OSDH. Of those testing positive, 223 are female and 206 are male.
Positive tests per county in the state are 120 in Oklahoma County; 61 in Tulsa County; 51 in Cleveland County; 20 in Kay County; 18 in Washington County; 16 in Creek County; 15 in Pawnee County; 13 in Payne County; 12 in Canadian County; 11 in Comanche County; 10 in Osage County; 8 in Wagoner County; 7 in Muskogee County; 4 each in Adair, Custer, Delaware and Garvin and Ottawa counties; 3 each in Lincoln, Logan, Mayes, Noble, Nowata, Okmulgee and Pontotoc counties; 2 each in Garfield, Grady, McClain, Pittsburg, Pottawatomie, Sequoyah and Stephens counties; and 1 each in Bryan, Caddo, Carter, Cherokee, Choctaw, Craig, Jackson, Latimer, LeFlore, Rogers, Seminole and Texas counties, according to OSDH information released Sunday morning.
Stitt's executive order remains in place for all counties through April 30 with an broader initiative requiring all Oklahomans older than 54 and immunocompromised children and adults to shelter at home unless getting groceries, seeking medical care or participating in exercise while practicing social distancing.
OSDH announced Sunday that the Stitt administration and hospitals in the state are working on a plan to increase intensive care capacity by 40%. The governor on Friday requested FEMA to begin a survey for additional locations were hospitals could expand for treating COVID-19 patients.
The health department also has creating partnerships with additional labs including Regional Medical Laboratory (RML) in Oklahoma City and Clinical Pathology Laboratories (CPL) in Austin, in addition to the ongoing partnership with Diagnostic Laboratory of Oklahoma (DLO).
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 Baptist Health Center has been and is testing patents for coronavirus in accordance with the same testing guidelines, said Tania Warnock, Integris Bass marketing project lead.
“We do not have any positive cases at this time,” Warnock said Sunday night.
Criteria 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.
Earlier this week the state received additional COVID-19 testing supplies that will allow for 10,000 individuals to be tested in the coming weeks, according to OSDH on Saturday. Oklahoma State University is bringing online lab capabilities by early next week that will allow the state to process approximately 2,800 COVID-19 tests a day. The University of Oklahoma is continuing to partner, as well, to expand and bring online capabilities to process a "significant number of COVID-19 tests" in the coming weeks.
Drive-through testing sites have been established in Kay, Oklahoma, Pittsburg and Tulsa counties, as a result of a cross-county, city and state health system partnership, according to OSDH. Two more sites are planning to open next week in Western Oklahoma, OSDH reports.
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.”
Governor Kevin Stitt announced during a press conference Tuesday afternoon 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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