Virus cases keep climbing in Oklahoma; 3rd death reported
Stacey Mason wears a mask on March 24 as she shops during senior shopping hours at Homeland in Oklahoma City. Homeland stores are reserving the first hour of store operations to senior customers and those who have medical conditions that put them at risk from COVID-19. SUE OGROCKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A Cleveland County woman in her 60s has become Oklahoma’s third coronavirus-related death, and the number of confirmed cases continues to climb, state health officials said March 24.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported the number of people who have tested positive for the virus has climbed to 106 in 19 counties, but because of a shortage of available testing kits, health officials say the actual number is likely much higher.
Gov. Kevin Stitt said March 22 the state will begin operating mobile testing sites in Kay, Pittsburg, Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, but the department said March 24 those sites are not yet operational.
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.
Oklahoma’s first death was a Tulsa County man and Cherokee Nation citizen, Merle Dry, 55, who died March 18. The death of a second man, a Pawnee County man in his 50s, was reported March 22.
Stitt has not yet called for statewide closure of certain businesses, such as bars and restaurants, despite increasing calls to do so from state and health officials.