Ardmore football program quarantined after positive test result

Michael D. Smith

Members of the Ardmore High School football program will be quarantined for two weeks after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Ardmore is the fourth Carter County school district to be directly impacted by the new coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma has moved into the red zone for some COVID-19 markers, according to the most recent state report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The elevation of the state’s color threshold was due to the number of new cases per population and test positivity last week.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday reported 65,929 confirmed coronavirus cases and 863 deaths, increases of 876 cases and nine deaths from those reported Tuesday. 

The true number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The three-level color alert system used in White House Coronavirus Task Force state reports moved Oklahoma from the yellow zone to red zone in two categories for the week ending Sept. 6. 

“Oklahoma has seen an increase in new cases and an increase in test positivity over the last week,” read the report.

Oklahoma recorded 876 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, which also sent the seven-day average of new cases over 830.

Oklahoma had 146 new cases per 100,000 residents last week, compared to a national average of 88 new cases per 100,000 people. Only eight states had a higher rate of new virus confirmations.

Last week over 11% of test results in Oklahoma returned positive, with only three states seeing higher positive rates, according to the weekly White House report.

While Tulsa County, Oklahoma County and Cleveland County accounted for over 42% of all new Oklahoma cases last week, the White House report said most counties are seeing moderate or high levels or community transmission.

“There is virus in rural and urban counties,” read the report.

According to the COVID-19 Alert System maintained by OSDH, Carter County has remained in the yellow zone since reporting started in July. While White House Cornavirus Task Force state reports issue color coded levels for various markers, the four-tiered state alert system combines risks based on the number of positive cases per 100,000 residents and regional hospital capacity.

The state health department reported 55,045 people have recovered from COVID-19 since March. The number of people not recorded as deceased or recovered fell slightly but remained over 9,000 for a sixth day.

Presumably active cases in Oklahoma remained over 9,600 for a fourth day Wednesday.

The number of Oklahomans receiving hospital care for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 fell last week and to the lowest level since July 10. At least 462 people were in the hospital on Wednesday with confirmed or suspected cases of the disease.

Carter County has recorded 446 people with COVID-19, after ten new cases were recorded Wednesday. Presumably active cases in Carter County jumped to 51 Wednesday, the highest number in nearly a month.

After several days with fewer than 40 presumably active cases in Carter County, the number of people confirmed to have the coronavirus that were not listed as deceased or recovered surged over 50 on Wednesday.

According to a statement from Ardmore City School administrators, consultation with state health officials prompted the quarantine of football team members and associated personnel that is expected to last through Sept. 19.

Superintendent Kim Holland said school and health officials discussed the positive test result on Wednesday morning and that the health department will conduct contact tracing. Parents are being notified about the positive result by phone and email.

"They will contact families directly if they have concerns," Holland said in an email late Wednesday.

Carter County schools in Dickson, Springer and Wilson have already been affected by COVID-19 this semester. Most schools were able to isolate small groups linked to positive tests, with only schools in Springer moving entirely to distance learning after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.