OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma has seen an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past two weeks, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The increased spread of the virus is caused by ongoing community transmission and outbreaks affecting specific populations, according to an OSDH news release.
“The threat of COVID-19 still exists and we anticipate it to grow. It is critical for Oklahomans to seek out testing. Since COVID-19 was first introduced in Oklahoma, testing availability has radically improved and the State’s hospital surge plan, expanding bed capacity by 40%, remains activated. Diagnostic testing is freely available to all Oklahomans and we continue to improve our ability to find and diagnose COVID-19 cases. The need to physically distance, wear a mask, wash hands often, and adhere to instructions to quarantine and isolate remain critically important,” the news release states.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma climbed by 222 in the past 24 hours, according to OSDH’s COVID-19 report on Friday.
There have been 359 COVID-19 deaths in Oklahoma so far.
State leaders told KFOR that they are closely monitoring the situation.
“We have quadrupled our state’s testing capacity over the last month and as a result have seen an all-time low in our percentage of positive cases at 3.7%. We are closely monitoring and deploying resources to communities with recent increases in COVID-19 cases, and Governor Stitt strongly encourages Oklahomans to take precautions to protect themselves and follow the guidance of contact tracers or health officials to quarantine or isolate if they are exposed.
With more than 80 free testing locations and a robust hospital surge plan still in place, Oklahoma is in a strong position to confront this virus until there is a vaccine.”Charlie Hannema, Chief of Communications for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Office
Officials believe 6,391 Oklahomans have recovered from the virus. Although the CDC recommends patients be tested twice to determine if they have recovered, health department officials say they are preserving tests for patients who are sick, according to health department data.
OSDH identifies a person as recovered if they are currently not hospitalized or deceased and it has been 14 days since the onset of their symptoms or since they were diagnosed.
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.
If you do become sick, you are asked to stay away from others. If you have been in an area where the coronavirus is known to be spreading or been around a COVID-19 patient and develop symptoms, you are asked to call your doctor ahead of time and warn them that you might have been exposed to the virus. That way, experts say, they have the ability to take extra precautions to protect staff and other patients.
The novel coronavirus was first detected in China late last year and has since spread to locations across the globe, including the United States.
While the full extent of COVID-19 is not known yet, reported illnesses have ranged from extremely mild to severe, some resulting in death. Officials say that 80 to 85 percent of cases of COVID-19 have been mild, similar to a cold or the flu.
Older people and those with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at a greater risk for a serious case.