Health department ‘limited on supplies,’ will begin coronavirus test rationing for now

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier
As Oklahoma officials announced on Tuesday that the number of positive COVID-19 cases had almost doubled in the state, from 10 on Monday to 17 early Tuesday, the Oklahoma State Health Department said it would have to start rationing supplies for the time being.

“We have some (tests) available, but we are very limited on supplies,” OSDH spokeswoman Jamie Dukes told The Frontier. 

In a news release Tuesday morning, the OSDH said “testing materials remain in short supply.”

“Patients are encouraged to consult their physician or public health professional about their symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Clinicians may recommend testing for other respiratory illnesses, including flu, before recommending a COVID-19 test,” the release said. 

Dukes told The Frontier that more information about steps OSDH is taking to address the shortage will be coming later Tuesday. 

World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday  “all countries should be able to test all suspected cases.

“They cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded,” he said. 

Without testing, cases cannot be isolated and the chain of infection will not be broken, he said.

As of early Tuesday there had been 17 positive tests in Oklahoma, with 247 negative tests and 82 pending cases, according to the OSDH COVID-19 dashboard.

Eight of the cases are in people aged 18-49, five of the cases are in people aged 50-64 and four of the cases are in the 65-and-up age bracket, considered by health officials to be the most vulnerable population. 

Six of the positive cases are women and 11 are men, according to OSDH records. There are now six positive cases in Oklahoma County, three in Tulsa County, two each in Canadian and Kay counties and one each in Cleveland, Jackson, Pawnee and Payne counties.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced on Sunday a state of emergency for all 77 Oklahoma Counties, and school officials on Monday closed all public schools until early April. 

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Dylan Goforth

Editor in Chief/Staff Writer

Dylan has two kids, three dogs, and no time to himself. He's fueled by QuikTrip and Twitter. Contact: dylan@readfrontier.com or 918-931-9405.
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