Love county added to confirmed COVID-19 list
Southern Oklahoma is beginning to see more positive cases of COVID-19. Public Health District 8 is made up of the following nine counties in Oklahoma: Stephens, Jefferson, Carter, Love, Marshall,
Johnston, Pontotoc, Garvin and Murray. There are a total of 13 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in District 8. So far, the confirmed cases are in the following counties: Pontotoc (three), Garvin (six), Carter (one), Stephens (two) and Love (one). The district is currently investigating other potentially positive cases that would be reported in future situation updates from the state health department.
Mendy Spohn, Regional Administrative Director for District 8, said, “While we use laboratory-confirmed cases for official reporting, widespread testing is not available at this time. Meaning, not all people sick with COVID-19 are known to the health department.” Testing has been limited to high-risk and medically vulnerable people in Oklahoma.
“For the cases we have investigated, our public health nurses have notified 96 individuals considered close contacts to positive cases. We define ‘close contacts’ as a person who was within six feet or less for longer than ten minutes,” Spohn stated. “Five of the cases we have investigated have required hospitalization.”
The local county health departments are working in collaboration with hospitals, urgent care settings, private physicians and the Chickasaw Nation to follow up on case contact tracing and notification.
Spohn stresses the importance of adhering to the social distancing guidelines and staying home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to be out in the public. “Even at essential businesses, it is important to maintain social distancing (six feet) from others if possible,” Spohn says. “The virus moves because people move. If we can limit the number of person-to-person interactions, it will reduce the number of people sick at the same time and needing the hospital at the same time.”
If everyone gets sick at the same time, our hospital systems will become overwhelmed. “Considering the percentage needing hospitalization, and the length and complexity of those hospitalizations, social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 is critical,” stated Spohn.
Common ways the virus is spread include: breathing droplets from another person’s cough or sneeze, and touching surfaces that someone infected with COVID-19 has touched. Washing hands often with soap and water for longer than 20 seconds is recommended. People with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever 100.4 degrees or higher, dry cough and fatigue) should stay home until symptoms stop and fever is gone for 72 hours without medication.
Visit https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/ to find Oklahoma-specific information about COVID-19 and to view the situation updates provided daily at 11 a.m.