Surge in Oklahoma virus cases was expected after reopening, interim OSDH commissioner says

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Oklahoma Air National Guard surgeon Col. Lance Frye answers questions from the media after being named as interim commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, as the state continues to reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma has surpassed 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and the interim commissioner of the state’s Department of Health says a surge in cases was expected after the state began reopening.

“As we have expected, our state is experiencing increased positive cases since reopening,” in late April, Dr. Lance Frye said in a Friday night news release. “We all have to learn how to live within this new normal, and both our health care system and the general public must stay vigilant and prepared.”

The health department on Saturday reported 331 new virus cases to bring the number of confirmed cases to 10,037 with 368 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The actual number is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The report comes as President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence plan to attend a campaign rally Saturday inside a 19,000 seat arena in Tulsa.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

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