OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Tuesday that no one he was in contact with in the days before he tested positive for the coronavirus has come down with the virus.
“We're not out of the woods yet, but it underscores the opportunity for Oklahoma to tackle COVID-19 when we take personal action and listen to the guidance from our public health officials,” that include being tested at the first sign of any symptoms, the Republican governor said.
“I feel a hundred percent, just felt a little bit of a ... maybe stuffiness in my head, but really feeling great,” said Stitt, who tested positive for the virus on July 14.
Stitt and interim state health commissioner Dr. Lance Frye also announced that more than 300 additional hospital beds are being set aside as an option in case of a surge of people with the virus requiring intensive care.
For most people, the COVID-19 virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe illness, including pneumonia, and be fatal.
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TESTING
The University of Oklahoma will require all students living in housing on the Norman campus to test negative for the coronavirus before they are allowed to move in.
University President Joseph Harroz Jr. said in a statement Monday that the testing promotes a healthier environment as students begin moving onto campus on Aug. 11. Classes are set to start on Aug. 24.
“Our fall 2020 semester will be different from any other, and throughout our fall planning, the well-being of our campus community has been at the forefront,” Harroz said. “Providing our residential students a simple and free way to complete this test before they arrive in Norman is part of our comprehensive strategy to reduce transmission of the virus on campus and in the broader community.”
The university previously said all faculty, staff, students and visitors must wear masks on campus.
University spokesperson Kesha Keith said in an email that on-campus housing is estimated at 96% of fall 2019, but total numbers are not yet available.
The university said the students will be mailed an in-home saliva test and must test negative and complete an online health screening before being allowed to move into campus housing.
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reports that the state's jobless rate fell to 6.6% in June from 12.6% in May as the state began reopening businesses under a plan by Stitt.
Many businesses were closed or curtailed in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and the commission reported a high of 14.7% unemployment in April.
There were 894 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Oklahoma on Tuesday, in addition to 820 older cases that had not been reported because of what the Oklahoma State Department of Health has called a technical glitch.
There have been 27,147 reported virus cases in the state, according to interim health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye.
The actual number of positive cases is likely much higher since many people haven’t been tested and some who get the disease don’t show symptoms.
It is not known when the previously unreported cases were confirmed, Frye said, but those who tested positive had been notified.
Frye said technicians are working to update an antiquated system that has relied on fax machines and manual data entry to update daily numbers.
“There's no question about the accuracy” of the numbers, Frye said. “It went down early (Tuesday) morning, it took us until ... maybe an hour ago to get the system back up and the reason it takes so long is because we go in and we reverify every one of those cases to make sure they're not duplicated.”