Oklahoma City leaders announce first metro death due to COVID-19

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - City leaders in Oklahoma City say they continue to try to slow the spread of novel coronavirus within city limits.

On Tuesday, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that 106 Oklahomans have tested positive for COVID-19. So far, 41 of those cases are in Oklahoma County.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt announced that the first death in the metro has occurred from the virus.

"We are saddened to hear the first life in the metro has been claimed by COVID-19," Holt said.

Already, Oklahoma City leaders had implemented strict social distancing rules by closing the dining areas of restaurants and bars, and limiting social gatherings to less than 10 people.

Hours after learning about the increase in the number of confirmed cases, Oklahoma City leaders held a news conference about additional restrictions.

"We have been determined, these past two weeks, to learn from history," Holt said, adding that officials have been studying past pandemics and how COVID-19 has impacted communities across the globe.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Kevin Stitt closed all non-essential businesses in the metro and counties that have been affected by the novel coronavirus.

"COVID-19 created this crisis, not us," said Holt.

Non-essential businesses are considered places with a ‘social gathering’ aspect, like bars, gyms, and massage parlors.

The U.S. government defines essential personnel as:

  • Healthcare/ Public health
  • Law enforcement, Public Safety, First Responders
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Public Works
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Community-based Government Operations and Essential Functions
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Financial Services
  • Chemical
  • Defense Industrial Base.

To read more in-depth about the positions, visit the CISA site.

State leaders tell KFOR that they are working to expand the list, but that list has not been released yet. 

Mayor Holt says businesses that are essential are being told to maintain social distancing.

Also, he says there is no reason to rush to the grocery store and hoard food.

"You will never be prohibited from grocery shopping," he said.

Holt says people are encouraged to go outside and enjoy nature, but children should not use playgrounds.

At the same time, those who are most at risk for severe cases of COVID-19 are being told to stay at home as much as possible.

"Our older population should be protected at all costs," he said.

Holt says he will continue to receive updates every day from local health experts to decide how to move forward.

State officials urge Oklahomans to stay away from ill patients and to frequently wash their hands. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

At this point, Americans are urged to practice 'social distancing' by staying in their homes as much as possible and not going out into a crowd.

The virus is mainly spread from person-to-person, and symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure. Officials stress that the most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Tracking Coronavirus in the U.S.


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