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Positive COVID-19 cases spike again

Robby Short
The Daily Ardmoreite
Carter County recorded 10 new cases, nine of which were reported in Ardmore, for the highest single day increase since May 27.

Once again, Oklahoma set a single day record for the number of new reported cases of COVID-19.

Tuesday marked 585 new cases for the state. Carter County recorded 10 new cases, nine of which were reported in Ardmore, for the highest single day increase since May 27. The new cases brought Carter County’s total to 92 confirmed cases, with 71 recoveries.

The death toll for Oklahoma rose by two on Tuesday, with a male in the 65 and older age group from Rogers County and a female in the 36-49 age group from Mayes County succumbing to the virus.

The state set another record as well with 498 recoveries.

Mendy Spohn, Regional Director for Oklahoma State Department of Health, said Tuesday’s increase was the result of an increase in cases  worked over the past four days.

“There was lag time in the state office reporting system getting our web confirmed case numbers reconciled with what we are working locally,” Spohn said. “We continue to see the majority of our cases from family/friend gatherings and work sites where workers are spreading it among themselves.” 

Those cases led to the reported temporary closure of several local businesses on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, the Ardmore Sante Fe restaurant announced via social media that it too would be closing temporarily after being informed of a positive COVID-19 test by one of its employees. The total number of businesses forced to close to ensure the health and well-being of their employees and customers isn’t tracked by the health department.

“We don’t keep track of that as we don’t recommend business closures,” Spohn said. “They make that decision themselves. We just make a quarantine recommendation.” 

Spohn said one of the primary reasons a business closes is due to the number of the employees needing to quarantine for 14 days post exposure.

“This is why mask usage by staff is critical to businesses,” Spohn said. “I highly recommend mask use. Masks really cut down on an unknowingly infected person spreading to others. If masks are in use, our quarantine numbers are much lower for gatherings and group settings.” 

Spohn said cleaning a facility can be as quick as a few hours.

“Soap and water will work as well as sanitizing cleaners. Some choose to let the places sit for a few days in hopes any virus on surfaces will die. The risk from surfaces is lower than the risk from droplets.” 

Spohn said most of the new cases in southern Oklahoma fall in the

younger age groups but most are symptomatic at some point.

“It may be a mild illness but showing symptoms. I would say the majority have symptoms,” Spohn said. “Asymptotic is occurring as well but when we do the investigations and ask people about how they have been feeling they usually mention a day of feeling tired or a sore throat or a cough that was thought to be allergies. Sometimes they start out without symptoms at the testing and then develop symptoms during isolations.” 

Spohn said they were also seeing an increase in people 50 years old and older with more severe symptoms that need to seek medical attention.

“The younger crowd should be aware of their symptoms and test results before attending gatherings with older generations, especially family events where hugging and closer contact occurs.” Spohn said. “Again, masks are always a good idea no matter the setting if you are going to be around others. 

Spohn said testing in southern Oklahoma continues to rise as well, with at least 32,500 tests completed as of Monday.

“That includes tests done at the County Health Departments, Chickasaw Nation, and hospitals,” Spohn said in an email to The Ardmoreite on Monday. “It does not include tests done at urgent care facilities, doctor’s offices, or tests completed for residents in locations outside of our district. We are seeing increases in testing in Southern Oklahoma due to increased public interest, widespread testing by employers, as well as testing in long-term care facilities. Testing rates are up, but so are positivity rates. Time will tell, but we are doing what we can to keep our citizens, especially vulnerable populations, safe.”