MANGUM, Okla. (KFOR) – Dozens of people are infected with COVID-19 in a rural southwestern Oklahoma town.
Forty-six people have tested positive for the virus in Greer County, and more than half are in Mangum.
“We’re just taking it day to day,” said Mangum Mayor Mary Jane Scott.
Inside Mangum’s only nursing home, Mangum Skilled Nursing and Therapy, 30 of the facility’s 45 patients have COVID-19. Three patients have died.
“We never dreamed in a million years this would happen here in our little town in Southwest Oklahoma,” said Scott.
The outbreak is now being monitored closely by Brandie Combs, a region director for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
“We’re concerned,” said Combs.
She says Greer County is quickly climbing in its cases per capita compared to other states.
“We have 47 cases in Comanche County and we have 46 in Greer county, yet it’s a fourth of its size,” said Combs.
Mangum is now enacting strict rules to stop the spread, including a shelter-in-place order, mandatory masks when in public and a city-wide curfew.
The nursing home is also adding new regulations. No visitors are allowed in, and infected patients are strictly kept in quarantine.
“We are just really trying to stress on our community to abide by the rules,” said the Mayor.
The mayor said earlier this week that the outbreak could have started from a visiting reverend who came to Mangum and later died from COVID-19. As of Friday, she says she’s not sure.
“We don’t know how it got here, and whatever was said in the past, it doesn’t matter,” said Scott.
She says what does matter is saving lives and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Mangum Skilled Nursing and Therapy gave this statement to News Four in response to the recent outbreak:
“Our hearts and prayers go out to all families across our state and the country who have lost loved ones to this pandemic. Everyone, including our staff, is hit hard by the loss of valued members of the community. We continue to be in communication with our families and to follow all guidelines outlined by the CDC, state and local officials and our medical professionals as we respond to this situation. This includes the isolation of any residents determined to be positive or potentially positive for the virus. Any residents exhibiting symptoms, regardless of testing, are presumed positive and treated accordingly. All staff members continue to be screened in accordance with the standards established by health officials, and any staff member determined to be positive is not allowed to work nor return to work without following the protocols prescribed by the CDC, state and local health officials (including the Greer County epidemiologist) and our medical team.
Our goal remains the same as it has been since this pandemic began; to avoid the spread of the virus and mitigate its effects on our population. We want to thank the public for their continued prayers and support and our team members for the care and dedication they show every day as they serve on the front line of this pandemic, helping protect the most vulnerable among us.”
The State Department of Health is in daily communication with the facility and will continue to investigate.