Two more patients have died in Oklahoma after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the death toll to five as 164 total cases have been reported across the state.

Officials reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. According to Oklahoma State Department of Health updates, hospitalizations have more than doubled, from 25 to 59.

“We know that as we continue to increase our testing capacity, we will continue to have an increased number of cases,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a news conference Tuesday. “Actually, I think our number of cases are closer to over 500 right now. They are going to get into the thousands.”

Stitt made that statement when public health officials had confirmed 109 cases.

Tulsa County is up to 27 cases. On Wednesday, case reports from Adair, Bryan, Carter, Creek, Delaware, Osage, Pottawatomie and Stephens counties mean the list expands to 27 counties where Stitt has put new restrictions in place.

Officials also reported the state’s first case in the juvenile age range, 5 to 17 years old. Two pediatric cases were previously reported.

The two most recently reported deaths occurred in Oklahoma County; both were men, one in his 70s and the other in his 40s.

OSDH spokesman Cody McDonell said Wednesday that the state is “expecting a significant resupply” of COVID-19 testing materials by the end of the week.

“Should this supply arrive on time, as currently promised, the state will be working to expand testing capabilities and accessibility further,” McDonell told Tulsa World via email.

It was not clear Wednesday afternoon how the rollout in testing would affect criteria of who is tested and when. Public health officials have said previously testing priorities would favor vulnerable populations and health care providers.

State officials implemented a limited rollout of satellite testing sites in Pittsburg and Kay counties, according to a news release. The site in Pittsburg County has 100 test kits. The Kay County site reportedly has limited supplies. The limited rollout will assist public health officials in “determining the projected capacity needed for effective COVID-19 testing throughout Oklahoma,” according to a news release.

Oklahoma is experiencing widespread community transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Since we know that community spread is happening, we encourage everyone to practice social distancing and follow the CDC guidelines for hand washing,” McDonell said.

Social distancing, among other measures, remains the doctor’s orders. State health officials implore people of all age groups to stay home and practice social distancing. Slowing transmission rates will minimize strain on the health care system over time, commonly referred to as “flattening the curve.”

Public health officials recommend Oklahomans stay home, reduce person-to-person contact, wash hands frequently and avoid touching one’s face.

Social distancing means staying out of groups or congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others when possible. Congregate settings are public places where close contact may occur, such as grocery stores, movie theaters, churches and stadiums.

Included in the efforts to stymie the transmission rate is closing bars, restaurants and entertainment venues; closing schools and universities; and isolating at home.

> See all the coverage at tulsaworld.com/coronavirus


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Harrison Grimwood

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