Health officials say it’s critical Oklahomans follow public health guidance as 500+ COVID-19 cases reported in 24 hours

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Just one day after the first COVID-19-related pediatric death in the state was reported, more than 500 new cases have been reported in a 24-hour period.

According to officials at Fort Sill, a 13-year-old dependent of a service member at the base died Friday evening with COVID-19.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of the state’s first child impacted by COVID-19 since the pandemic arrived in Oklahoma. Our prayers are with the family and community as they mourn the loss of a young, innocent life,” said Interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye, MD. “It is critical for Oklahomans to partner with us in following the latest public health guidance to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable populations. Wash your hands often, limit social engagements, and consider wearing a mask where physical distancing is challenging.”

On Monday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 20,745 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.

That’s an increase of 510 cases over the past 24 hours, or a 2.5% increase.

Doctor hand holding positive Coronavirus or Covid-19 rapid test
Doctor hand holding positive Coronavirus test. (Taechit Taechamanodom/Getty Images/Royalty Free)

Recently, health officials say they have seen a steady incline in cases across the state as more people go out in public and community spread increases.

A rumor claims that the increase in cases is due to the health department including positive antibody test results into the daily coronavirus case numbers. However, health department officials tell KFOR that is not the case.

“We are not combining antibody test results with the molecular tests. To join the two categories would be confusing and misleading for everyone. We are tracking antibody testing separately,” said Rob Crissinger, manager of communications for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Officials say two additional people have died, bringing the total to 424 deaths connected to COVID-19.

Currently, officials say there are 499 people who are hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 as of July 10.

According to health department data, officials believe 15,815 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.

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.

image of a test tube with covid-19 marked positive
(Photo by Thomas Imo/Photothek via Getty Images)

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.

Starbucks tables blocked off
Back in March, tables at an Oklahoma City Starbucks were blocked off to prevent diners from eating in. Officials said it was all in an attempt to force social distancing.

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.

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