COVID-19

COVID-19 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

There have now been five COVID-19 related deaths in Oklahoma, where state case totals have jumped from 106 to 164 in the last day.

As of Wednesday morning, Cleveland County had 27 positive COVID-19 cases, up from 22 cases Tuesday.

One Cleveland County woman has died, while Oklahoma, Pawnee and Tulsa counties have also reported COVID-19-related deaths. The two new deaths reported Wednesday are a man in his 70s and a man in his 40s.

The state's hospitalization numbers more than doubled between Tuesday — when 25 people were hospitalized — and Wednesday, when 59 Oklahomans were hospitalized. There is now one positive case in an Oklahoman between the ages of 5 and 17.

Cases are now present in 27 Oklahoma counties, up from 19 counties Tuesday. Gov. Kevin Stitt's Tuesday "safer at home" order, which will suspend in-person operations for non-essential businesses in counties with confirmed cases, will expand to cover new counties as cases are confirmed, he said Tuesday.

The spike in numbers comes as Oklahoma, still short on COVID-19 testing kits, works to increase state testing capacity. A spokesperson for Stitt said Tuesday that the state is waiting on a "significant order" of testing supplies that officials expect to come in by week's end.

In its update Wednesday, the state noted that it will be opening satellite testing locations in Oklahoma, Tulsa, Kay and Pittsburg counties, two of which are set to get started today.

The state has also partnered with Diagnostic Laboratory of Oklahoma LLC to process hundreds of tests, and has authorized labs at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University to start testing as soon as they are able.

Still, without an adequate supply of testing kits, health officials have warned that Oklahoma is likely experiencing an undetected spread of the virus that's not reflected in state numbers. The state is prioritizing testing for its most at-risk residents, including individuals ages 60 or older, people with compromised immune systems and any group of individuals — like a nursing home — that is experiencing symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging everyone to practice social distancing to slow COVID-19's spread and reduce the risk of infection for vulnerable groups. The CDC asks that people keep their distance from large gatherings, keep at least six feet away from others if they have to go out, work on communicating with others virtually or without seeing them in-person, and stay home if they experience symptoms or feel sick.

Stitt's "safer at home" order also requires that elderly or vulnerable Oklahomans stay home until April 30, and bans in-person gatherings of more than 10 people.

Norman Mayor Breea Clark issued new city guidelines Monday that will close all non-essential Norman businesses for in-person operations for 21 days, and that asks residents to stay at home unless they must complete an essential activity.

Clark has also issued guidelines limiting organized community gatherings in Norman to no more than 10 people.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Those with symptoms or who suspect they may have been in contact with an infected person can call the Oklahoma Health Department's Coronavirus Hotline at 2-1-1.

Health professionals are urging the public to take precautions like frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering sneezes and coughs with an elbow or tissue, avoiding touching the face, staying home when possible and avoiding contact with those who are sick.

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