Virus continues spread, long-term care facilities offered financial help

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite
Oklahoma has recorded 14,112 cases of COVID-19, with 10,605 recoveries and 389 deaths. Nearly 11,000 people have recovered.

Long-term care facilities in Oklahoma will have access to relief funding to protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19. The announcement made Wednesday came the same day 355 new cases of the disease were confirmed across the state, sending the total case number over 14,000.

Carter County has recorded 95 cases of COVID-19, with 71 recoveries and one death.

Carter County totals increased by three to 95, with new cases being reported in Ardmore, Lone Grove and Wilson. No new recoveries were recorded in the county, leaving the number of recoveries at 71.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, funding will be made available to long-term care facilities in the form of grants through the federal Coronavirus Relief Funds. The facilities, like nursing homes and assisted living centers, can apply for the grants to help offset extra costs incurred because of the virus.

“These providers are serving the state's most vulnerable populations in the fight against the COVID-19, and many have not received additional funding from the federal government through stimulus packages that is sufficient to address increased costs because of COVID-19,” read a Wednesday statement. 

Grant amounts would vary based on need and would help support testing, training, or development of a facility-specific plan to prevent and control infection, among other virus-related expenses. Financial shortfalls directly or indirectly caused by the pandemic would not be eligible. 

Oklahoma has tested nearly 350,000 specimens for the coronavirus. State counts do not include some urgent care clinics.

As health officials work to contain the virus from spreading among vulnerable populations, testing appears to be expanding. The seven-day average of new daily test results has steadily climbed in recent weeks to nearly 7,000. The percentage of test results returning positive has also climbed this week. Of the 20,667 test results reported between Saturday and Wednesday, nearly 1,500 returned positive results.