First COVID-19 death reported in Oklahoma, health officials say

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TULSA COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A Tulsa County resident has died due to COVID-19, the Tulsa Health Department announced Thursday morning.

Health officials say it is a man in his 50s who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 17. He passed away due to complications on March 18. The epidemiological investigation is ongoing.

“It is with great sadness that I confirm that a Tulsa County resident has passed away due to COVID-19,” said Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “This is a tragedy for our community. In these unprecedented times, everyone feels the weight of this loss. COVID-19 has impacted our community on a monumental level, but today I ask you to take a moment to pause and recognize that a family has lost their loved one. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Currently, there are 29 cases statewide of novel coronavirus.

The Tulsa Health Department says three out of four Tulsa County cases were travel-associated.

The investigation to determine the source of contagion for the fourth case is ongoing.

“We have confirmed the first loss in our community from COVID-19. As a city, we mourn for the loss of our neighbor and we think of his family,” Tulsa Mayor G.T.Bynum said. “We must remain vigilant to the spread of this virus and continue to take care of each other.”

Testing capabilities remain limited in Oklahoma. Individuals with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath are advised to stay home and limit person-to-person engagement. Call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms. Emergency rooms should be utilized only for medical emergencies.

To slow the spread of the disease, Oklahomans are encouraged to implement social distancing and avoid large crowds and gatherings. Frequent handwashing and disinfecting of surfaces are imperative to limit the spread.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of Oklahoma’s first death from COVID-19. Sarah and I send our sincere condolences and ask Oklahomans to join us in praying for his family and loved ones,” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said. “My highest priority is the safety and well-being of every Oklahoman and I will deploy every resource available to protect the health of all of our families, friends and neighbors.”

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