Oklahoma has 1st coronavirus death; test shortage persists

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
03/19/2020 08:30 AM
TULSA, Okla. (AP) – An Oklahoma man in his 50s has died after testing positive for the coronavirus, marking the state’s first death linked to the virus, Tulsa Health Department officials announced Thursday.

The Tulsa County man tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and died Wednesday, the health department said.

“This is a tragedy for our community,” Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said. “In these unprecedented times, everyone feels the weight of this loss. COVID-19 has impacted our community on a monumental level, but today I ask you to take a moment to pause and recognize that a family has lost their loved one. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Oklahoma has confirmed 29 cases of the coronavirus so far, but officials warned Wednesday that the state was experiencing a shortage of testing kits. State epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed said Wednesday that the state had about 300 testing kits and had already used 200 of them.

The vast majority of people who contract the virus recover within weeks. It causes only mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but it can lead to more severe illness, including pneumonia, especially in older adults and people with preexisting health problems.

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