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Oklahoma tests 35,800 nursing home residents, workers

June 2, 2020 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State health officials tested more than 35,800 residents and staff at nursing homes across the state for COVID-19 last month, falling short of its goal to test all employees and residents, Gov. Kevin Stitt said on Monday.

Stitt said health officials focused first on the facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and expects to finish testing the workers and residents of the remaining nursing homes and long-term care facilities by the end of next week.

A little more than 3% of the tests have come back positive, Stitt said.

An analysis of Department of Health data shows more than half of the state’s 339 deaths from COVID-19 have been residents of nursing homes. The hardest hit was the Bartlesville Health and Rehabilitation Community, where 48 residents and 34 staff tested positive and where 19 deaths were reported.

The Health Department announced Monday it would no longer provide data on individual nursing homes, citing state medical privacy laws.

LATEST COVID-19 NUMBERS

Oklahoma health officials on Tuesday reported 119 new COVID-19 cases and five additional deaths from the disease.

The latest figures from the Department of Health show the total number of cases has reached nearly 6,700, with 339 total deaths, although the actual number of people who have contracted the disease is believed to be much higher because of a lack of testing and because some people with the disease don’t show symptoms.

For most people, the 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.

LOCAL REIMBURSEMENTS

Stitt’s office announced that 94 cities and counties so far have filed applications with the state for reimbursement of COVID-19-related expenses. Communities have until June 10 to submit applications for the first round of reimbursement funding from the federal CARES Act.

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Oklahoma received about $1.5 billion in federal funding to support COVID-19-related government expenses, with about $300 million going directly to Oklahoma City and Tulsa and to the two largest counties. That leaves about $1.2 billion available to reimburse cities and counties across the state.