The Haskell County Sheriff said he is taking COVID-19 more seriously, after he said he woke up one morning and couldn’t breathe, then later ended up in the ICU.
Sheriff Tim Turner is now back at work but knows of several others in law enforcement in Stigler who were also in the ICU, and said they are still recovering. The flags at the Haskell County Courthouse are at half-staff in honor of Deputy Court Clerk Debby McCoy who worked there since 1984.
"Our courthouse is blessed because of Debby McCoy,” Sheriff Turner said.
McCoy died after complications from COVID-19 and was laid to rest Monday. Sheriff Turner said he knew her for almost 20 years.
"She was a lady of character, a lady of dignity. She was a family lady,” he said.
Turner had his own battle with COVID. He said it completely changed how he approaches the virus.
"My perspective did a 180. And it's because I know I spent six days in the ICU,” Turner said.
Haskell County Undersheriff Terry Garland is in rehab learning how to walk again after fighting COVID in the ICU. Deputy Jeremy French is recovering from the virus at home after 11 days in the hospital, including time in the ICU.
At the Stigler Police Department, Chief Richard Dickson is out and regaining his strength in rehab after being on a ventilator in the ICU with COVID.
"Once we contracted it, we've realized it's serious. It's serious. We see people around us who are getting sick, who are dying,” Turner said.
Since the pandemic began, the State Health Department reports fewer than 650 cases in Haskell County, and six deaths. District 7 Health Planning Coordinator Kristen Carollo said Haskell County numbers are comparable to other Oklahoma counties with similar populations.
“They aren’t seeing a large spike or trend as far as numbers go," she said. "Today they had zero new positive cases. And of course, you know, we see a little bit of a delay in the turnaround of getting tests done."
Still, she urges people not to let their guards down, continue to wear masks, social distance and wash their hands.