First COVID-19 case reported in Garvin County

Five additional coronavirus cases including the first in Garvin County have been confirmed in Oklahoma, the state Department of Health reported Friday.

A spokesperson from the department's district in Garvin County said there will not be any release of specific demographic information for the patient.

"The case is being investigated by a public health nurse who is assessing recent contacts," the spokesperson said. "Those at significant risk will be notified, but as we are experiencing community spread in Oklahoma all members of the public should take all reasonable precautions as the CDC has promoted: social distancing, thorough hand washing, and staying home if you do not feel well."

The number of positive cases rose from 44 to 49 while the number of deaths due to the virus remained at one and eight people have been hospitalized, the department said.

Oklahoma County has 19 of the positive cases and adjacent Cleveland County has 11. Tulsa County, where the death occurred, has five.

The Metro Pentecostal Church in Tulsa identified the victim as Merle Dry, 55, and said in a post on its Facebook page that Dry had been “fighting a cold."

Oklahoma health officials have warned that the state was experiencing a shortage of testing kits and that the number of cases in Oklahoma was likely much higher.

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.

People who are concerned should continue to call the state's Coronavirus Call Center at 877-215-8336.

___

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)