OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Mayor David Holt has expressed concern about rising COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma City.
Holt issued a statement on his official Facebook page addressing the new rise of COVID-19 cases in the city after progress had been made in minimizing the spread.
“An exponentially growing outbreak was tamed when our city collectively took action. The curve was flattened,” Holt said early in the statement.
Later in the statement, Holt addressed the rising number of coronavirus cases in the city.
“In Oklahoma City, as we advanced into a new phase of our pandemic response on May 1, we were able to maintain our relative success, because even as we re-engaged in certain activities, we took extra precautions,” Holt said. “Now, six weeks after May 1, you can see for yourself in the chart below that our new daily cases are climbing again. I am aware statewide numbers are significantly worse, but this is the picture in the Oklahoma City metro.”
Oklahoma has now amassed more than 8,073 confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March, and 359 people in the state have died from COVID-19, including 107 people throughout the Oklahoma City metro area and 58 people within Oklahoma City city limits.
Holt said he has asked local public health officials if there is a specific reason for the climb in cases.
“I wish I could tell you that there was a certain activity or a certain location that was contributing to the increase, but that doesn’t seem to be the case,” Holt said.
The mayor went on to say that there is currently no unifying explanation for the increase as epidemiologists trace the cases.
“We are left with the presumption that, generally, we’re just not taking the same level of care,” Holt said.
Holt concluded his statement by urging community members to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“With cases again on the incline, we all need to increase our level of individual precaution. We need to always remember that there is a still a deadly virus at work in our community,” Holt said. “Please, for your sake and the sake of those you love: Wash your hands, keep your distance, and wear your mask in public situations where social distancing is difficult. Be well, OKC.”
Oklahoma closes and reopens
Gov. Kevin Stitt ordered all nonessential businesses and services closed on March 24, and visitation was restricted in long-term care facilities.
Stitt also issued a ‘Safer-at-Home’ order, asking all vulnerable populations across the state to stay home and only go out in public for the essentials until April 30. The order was later extended to May 6.
Mayor David Holt issued a ‘Shelter in Place’ order, closing down restaurant dining areas, personal services, such as salons, and businesses that present a high risk of spreading COVID-19. That order was lifted on May 1.
Oklahoma began a three-phase reopening on April 24.
Phase One allowed the following businesses to reopen on April 24:
• Personal care businesses, such as hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, and pet groomers for appointments only, but must adhere to sanitation protocols, and follow guidelines posted on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce website regarding social distancing between customers and visitors at personal care businesses.
• State parks and outdoor recreation
• Grocery stores maintain hours for vulnerable populations
The second part of Phase One allowed the following businesses to reopen on May 1:
• Dining, entertainment, movie theaters and sporting venues using CDC recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols.
• Gyms, but required to adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation
• Places of worship for in-person meetings or worship if they leave every other row or pew open and adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols, plus the recommended guidelines from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
• Tattoo Parlors for appointments only and must adhere to sanitation protocol and social distancing protocols for distancing between customers and visitors.
Phase Two began on May 15 and allowed the following:
• Organized sports activities under proper social distancing and sanitation protocols
• Bars to operate with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate, and under social distancing and sanitation protocols.
• Funerals and weddings to resume under social distancing protocols
• Children’s nursery areas in places of worship to reopen
Phase Three started on June 1 and allowed summer camps to reopen.
Stitt announced on June 12 that visitation to long-term care facilities will resume in a phased approach effective June 15. Click here for the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s guidance on long-term care facility visitation.
COVID-19 precautions and background
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.