OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One day after Governor Kevin Stitt announced he was positive for COVID-19, state health officials say six deaths connected to the virus were also reported.
On Thursday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 23,441 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.
That’s an increase of 628 cases over the past 24 hours.
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 438 deaths connected to COVID-19.
According to officials at Fort Sill, a 13-year-old dependent of a service member at the post died Friday evening with COVID-19, becoming the first COVID-19-related pediatric death in the state.
Currently, officials say there are 638 people who are hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19.
According to health department data on Thursday, officials believe 18,095 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.
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