New daily virus cases remain at record highs, Ardmore employees among positive cases
Oklahoma again broke the one-day record for new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with 228 additional confirmations. Nearly 12% of Oklahoma’s 8,645 confirmed cases since March 6 have been recorded in the past five days.
The recent statewide surge has not necessarily been fueled by the three new cases in Carter County since June 13, but Ardmore officials confirm that multiple city employees have tested positive for the virus. The total number of confirmed cases in the county remained at 60 on Tuesday and the number of cases not deceased or recovered held steady at nine.
“We’ve had three [city employees] test positive," said Ardmore City Manager J.D. Spohn. "They are the first ones and they’re all here within the last several days,” he said by phone Tuesday. Spohn is among several city employees who have self-quarantined because of close contact with someone who tested positive and said he would be getting tested this week.
Some city offices have been closed and several employees are now working from home. Spohn said phone calls are being forwarded to those employees and that city services should be minimally impacted by the change. He said the city's plan to mitigate the spread of the virus among city employees has been tightened recently. For example, face masks that were once recommended for city employees are now required.
Between a growing urge to socialize and infrequent mask usage in public, Oklahoma State Department of Health Regional Director Mendy Spohn said to expect the number of cases in Carter County to grow. She said the jump in confirmed Carter County cases last month was traced back to two particular instances — a job site and a family get together — and that a similar surge in cases is likely.
"It's not that I don't want people out enjoying life, we need to do that ... but we've got to remember that we are still part of a pandemic," said Mendy Spohn. "COVID-19 is extremely serious for people in vulnerable categories: people with heart disease, people with diabetes, people in older age categories," she said.
According to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, deaths associated with the disease rose by four to 363 on Tuesday. The seven-day average of daily deaths has been slowly trending down in June and has remained below two since June 13. The seven-day average of new daily recoveries has also trended upwards in that span of time, but only at a fraction of the pace of new confirmed cases.
As a result, the number of confirmed cases statewide not deceased or recovered has steadily climbed this month. More than 1,500 presumably active cases were recorded in Oklahoma on Tuesday, 35% higher than the previous high on May 4. Presumably active cases dropped dramatically in late May to 649 cases — the lowest number recorded since recovery data has been released — but have more than doubled in the past two weeks.
“This stuff has not gone away. It’s real and the only true way to protect your employees and yourself is by the use of face masks and social distancing,” said J.D. Spohn.