Oklahoma's First Coronavirus Case Confirmed, Gov. Stitt Says

Friday, March 6th 2020, 5:19 pm

By: Robert McCarty, Kristen Weaver

Governor Kevin Stitt and state health officials announced Oklahoma's first confirmed case of coronavirus March 6 at a news conference in Tulsa. 

Stitt and health officials said that a man in Tulsa County has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is now in quarantine. Stitt said he and state health officials feel prepared moving forward. 

"Our public health system is working. We have effectively identified our first positive case as a Tulsa County resident, a male in his '50s who recently traveled to Italy," Stitt said. "At this time there is no evidence of community spread and the risk to the general public is low." 

State health officials said testing is pending for four other persons. 

"Although we have a case, we are effectively mitigating the situation and relying on our public health officials to do what they do best," Stitt said. 

Related Story - President Trump Signs $8.3 Billion Bill To Combat Coronavirus Outbreak In US 

Health officials advise people to stay home if they believe they have symptoms of coronavirus, but assure that the virus is currently not a big risk to the general public. 

Below is the full press conference:

"It's important to remember that we've been through this before," said the Commissioner of Health, Gary Cox. 

Health officials said they want to encourage everyone to remain calm during this time. 

"There is no evidence of community spread. The most important thing is to focus on what we can control and that is preventing infection," said Mayor G.T. Bynum, who also addressed the public at the conference. 

Related Story - Northeastern Oklahoma Schools Prepare For Coronavirus 

The Tulsa Health Department said simple actions like hand washing, disinfecting, covering your mouth, and staying home at any sign of sickness is crucial to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

The Tulsa Regional Chamber also released the following statement: 

“We are monitoring this developing situation very closely. Like many other chambers nationwide, we are collecting COVID-19 (coronavirus) information on our web site to serve as a resource for our members and the wider community. Situations like this have the potential to significantly impact business and tourism, and by extension quality of life, so we stand ready to assist our medical professionals in sharing information, and to help local businesses and their employees prepare and respond as needed.” - Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

The following is part of the Tulsa Health Department's press release:

The Tulsa Health Department (THD) working collectively with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced earlier today in a press conference one positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Tulsa County.

  • The confirmed case is a male in his 50s with a travel history to Italy and there is no evidence of community spread.

This is the first confirmed case in the state of Oklahoma. This case is travel-related with travel history to Italy. Italy is a Level 3 Travel Health Notice country. At this time, there is no evidence of community spread. THD is at the beginning stages of this investigation and new details and information will emerge over the next days and weeks. THD’s epidemiologists and emergency preparedness program are working hard to identify close contacts of this confirmed case. These close contacts may include family members, co-workers and other contacts. 

According to data collected by John Hopkins University of Medicine, there has been over 102,000 confirmed cases world-wide, more than 3,000 deaths reported, and over 57,000 known recoveries. The vast majority of cases remains scattered throughout china, John Hopkins research shows.   

Officials have set up a coronavirus hotline as well, which can be reached at 877-215-8336.

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