UPDATE: An Oklahoma State Department of Health official issued a statement regarding the confusion on Tuesday over the number of COVID-19 deaths in Oklahoma.
Shelley Zumwalt, Chief of Innovation, said the following:
“Five deaths were identified today. One person died today and the others died between 4/30 and 5/9. The CHDs have been notified or are aware of the deaths.
The total number of deaths is 278 it would have been 279 but there was a case from Washington county in the 18-35 yo age group that was initially noted as having died on 4/14, but was corrected as not died.”
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Nearly two weeks after many businesses reopened across the state, health officials say the state’s coronavirus cases have climbed to more than 4,700.
On Tuesday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state currently has 4,732 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The death toll in Oklahoma also now stands at 278.
So far, 840 people have been hospitalized. Currently, 190 patients are hospitalized.
Data from Tuesday’s numbers show that 3,423 Oklahomans have recovered from the virus – a number that increased by 182 since Monday.
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.
Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health tell KFOR that experts must gather several pieces of information in order to classify a death as related to COVID-19.
“We can have a death reported to us, but with missing information that we have to gather or the reporting entity can have a delay in reporting the info to OSDH as well. All that is to say, no one is artificially inflating or deflating any numbers, it is there are quite a few “boxes” to check before we can officially report a death attributed to COVID-19 and that process along with delays in reporting can mean that it’s not possible to officially report a death within 24 hours of that death occurring, although every effort is made to do so,” Shelley Zumwalt, with OMES and working on behalf of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said in an email.
Instead, the Oklahoma State Department of Health 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.