OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma health officials say the number of COVID-19 cases has now surpassed 19,000 with nearly 600 new cases reported on Friday.
On Friday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 19,092 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.
That’s an increase of 596 cases over the past 24 hours, or a 3.2% jump.
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 six additional people have died, bringing the total to 416 deaths connected to COVID-19.
Currently, officials say there are 487 people who are hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19.
According to health department data, officials believe 14,648 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.
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.
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