Stitt, state health officials continue monitoring COVID-19 situation

Ponca City Now - March 5, 2020 4:07 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY—Governor Kevin Stitt, alongside experts with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, today updated the status of the coronavirus in Oklahoma reporting there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has submitted specimens for seven people, five of those results came back negative and two are pending.

“The infection risk in Oklahoma remains low at this time and we are prepared and remain vigilant in minimizing risk for citizens in our state,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “With this being said, the state is taking this global epidemic seriously and is well positioned to monitor the developing situation, deploy assets as needed, and protect the public health and safety of Oklahomans.”

The OSDH is actively working a comprehensive program of prevention, protection, testing and containment with public and private health organizations, schools, businesses and faith-based organizations.

“We are aggressively monitoring the status of the infection and working diligently with our partners locally and nationally every day to remain prepared as the degree of risk can change quickly,” said Gary Cox, OSDH Commissioner of Health. “We are continuing to test individuals who either have symptoms or who recently travelled from one of the affected areas of the globe where the virus is spreading.”

A prestigious national organization called Trust for America’s Health recently ranked Oklahoma in the top tier for public health emergency preparedness.

“So far, COVID-19 in the U.S. is mild,” said Laurence Burnsed, MPH, Oklahoma State Epidemiologist. “Older people and those with pre-existing health conditions are at greater risk. The virus is thought to spread like flu through respiratory droplets produced from a cough or sneeze between people in close contact with one another. Protecting yourself with regular hand washing and avoiding sick people is an important first step.”

The OSDH announced establishment of a new call center dedicated to addressing questions from the public regarding COVID-19.  The call center is expected to go on-line at the end of this week. More information is available at coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

With the approach of Spring Break, OSDH encourages potential travelers to be proactive in checking the COVID-19 status of their international destination.  Returning from countries with a Level 2 or Level 3 status may require a home quarantine of two weeks. There are no travel restrictions within the United States.

 

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