The Oklahoma State Department of Health entered a public-private partnership to increase the delivery efficiency of COVID-19 test results, which it announced shortly after the number of confirmed cases in Cleveland County rose to 11.
According to a press release, the partnership is with Diagnostic Labs of Oklahoma — as a result of the partnership, over 300 tests were shipped to the lab’s facility in Dallas and will yield results in the next few days.
“As this new public-private lab partnership expands Oklahoma’s capacity to deliver timely results, it will allow the OSDH, county health departments, hospitals, health care providers and others begin pursuing innovative options for increasing access to COVID-19 testing,” Commissioner of Health GaryCox said in the release.
Further, the partnership will give COVID-19 test results within two to three days, while the Public Health Laboratory will “continue to prioritize its limited in-house supply for delivering results within 24 hours for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable populations,” according to the release.
Those considered part of vulnerable populations are people who are 60 or over, children or adults who are immunocompromised, along with places where many individuals are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as nursing homes, according to the release.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide is now 49, an increase of five cases from yesterday, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Fourteen counties in Oklahoma have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including Canadian, Cleveland, Custer, Garvin, Grady, Jackson, Kay, Logan, McClain, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Payne, Tulsa and Washington counties, according to OSDH.
OU announced Tuesday that it would move classes online for the rest of the semester in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and the campus was also closed this week after the university announced that a community member had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Across the Norman area, many events have been postponed or canceled. Many Norman businesses are also closing this week after an emergency declaration from Mayor Breea Clark required that many types of businesses close their storefronts to patrons with the exception of services such as drive-thru, takeout and delivery.
According to the World Health Organization, people can avoid the disease through hand-washing, social distancing, keeping hands away from the face, practicing respiratory hygiene and seeking medical care quickly if symptoms — including fever, cough and difficulty breathing — arise.
Illness due to the coronavirus is generally mild, especially for children and young adults, according to the WHO. But about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care, and older people are at increased risk to experience serious illness.