Oklahoma governor’s cabinet member tests positive for virus
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A member of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet is among the 84 new coronavirus cases reported Thursday in Oklahoma, bringing the state’s tally of infections to at least 248.
Oklahoma’s death toll rose to seven. The Department of Health on Thursday reported two new deaths in Cleveland County — a woman in her 90s and a man in his 60s — taking the number who have died in that county to three. Two deaths have been reported in Oklahoma County and one each in Tulsa and Pawnee counties. The virus has now been detected in 33 of the state’s 77 counties, and health officials have consistently said that, because of a lack of testing supplies, the actual number of infected persons is likely significantly higher.
The 90-year-old woman and a 60-year-old woman who died earlier this week were both residents of the Grace Skilled Nursing and Therapy Norman, a 136-bed facility in which a total of seven additional residents have tested positive for the virus, according to Care Providers Oklahoma, a nursing home trade group.
The group says all of the residents who tested positive had been symptomatic and were being isolated as a precaution.
A spokeswoman for the governor said State Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe has the virus and is quarantined at home. Ostrowe has not had contact with Stitt in more than two weeks, Baylee Lakey said, adding that Stitt hasn’t been tested for the virus and has no plans to do so at this time.
All staff who may have had contact with Ostrowe have been asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days, she said.
In Tulsa, City-County Health Department Director Bruce Dart said a lack of testing supplies continues.
“Resources remain extremely limited. At this time, we have enough supplies to collect samples for an extremely limited number of individuals,” Dart said. “Once we get more testing supplies, we have a plan in place ... and that’s going to be decided by when supplies are coming in.”
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, or death.
In an effort to control the virus’ spread, mayors in Oklahoma City and Tulsa this week shut down playgrounds in the parks, sports facilities and other areas where people gather, but parks remained open.
“These are all things that draw people together, which are exactly the kinds of events that we’re trying to avoid,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said Thursday. “The city of Tulsa does not have the ability to go out and sanitize every playground and piece of equipment with the frequency needed to keep it safe.”
Follow all of the AP’s coronavirus news: https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak.
Associated Press writer Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.