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Ardmore City Commission receives address from Oklahoma Department of Health

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
Mendy Spohn, regional administrator for the Oklahoma Department of Health, addresses the Ardmore City Commission about COVID-19 during their meeting Monday evening.

The Ardmore City Commission received a presentation from Mendy Spohn, regional administrator for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, about COVID-19 on Monday evening. During her speech she discussed how the numbers are tested within the state and spoke about the different types of testing.

Spohn said that there were 41 active cases of the virus from Ardmore residents as of Monday, and there have been around 252 cumulative cases since the outbreak began. She said these case numbers come from those who have been confirmed by the PCR tests rather than those who have tested positive with antigen testing.

“Right now, the only confirmed cases are those that are PCR confirmed cases,” Spohn said. “Those are the ones that are molecular tests where they actually go in and find the particles of the virus. The antigen positive test — which is a lot of what you see with the rapid testing — those antigen positive tests are looking for a protein that is a part of that virus.”

Spohn said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department do not currently consider the antigen tests as confirmed cases. Instead they are considered probable cases, especially if that person is displaying symptoms of the virus. Those patients are instead considered probable cases, and the person is considered to be likely infectious. These patients are then investigated and recommendations of isolation and quarantine are made off of the results of the investigation.

Spohn said because only the PCR tests are counted in the official numbers, the number of probable cases the department of health is actually working on is closer to 350 cases within the county. The health department is currently working with the governor on ways to count probable and suspected cases.

Spohn said in Ardmore and the surrounding area about 20% to 23% of all confirmed cases are asymptomatic. 

“Most people do have some symptoms,” Spohn said. “Once you start the investigation and you start to ask them questions, you find out people don’t consider some of the mild symptoms a true symptom.”

Spohn said there are three strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19: social distancing, testing and case investigation, and masks. She said the most common method of transmission in the Ardmore area comes from family gatherings — or gatherings with friends — and transmission between coworkers. In all of those instances people are less likely to think about social distancing and wearing masks.