First COVID-19 cases reported in Carter, Stephens counties

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - The Carter County Health Department confirmed the first positive cases of COVID-19 in Carter and Stephens counties Wednesday morning.

No further information about the cases or patients has been released at this time.

"Local public health nurses are reaching out to those who are at a high risk of exposure from that case," Oklahoma State Department of Health Regional Administrative Director Mendy Spohn said. “A positive case in the community does not change our message. All community members are encouraged to stay at home, limit personal contacts, wash hands thoroughly, and avoid touching their face.”

Carter (1) and Stephens (1) join Bryan (1), Pontotoc (1), and Garvin (2) counties as areas in Texoma with confirmed positive tests for the virus.

As of Wednesday morning, there are 164 positive cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma. New counties with cases include Adair, Bryan, Carter, Creek, Delaware, Osage, Pottawatomie and Stephens Counties.

There are an additional two deaths, both from Oklahoma County, one male in his 70s and one male in his 40s, bringing the total number of Oklahomans killed by COVID-19 to 5.

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday ordered non-essential businesses to shut down and directed elderly and medically vulnerable people to stay indoors until April 30 as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continued to climb.

Stitt ordered businesses like bars, gyms, hair salons, movie theaters and massage and tattoo parlors to shut down for 21 days in all counties where a positive test has been confirmed and said the order would expand to other counties when cases are detected. Restaurants in those counties can serve take-out food, but not have diners inside. He said his order would also prohibit groups of 10 people or more from gathering anywhere in the state.

"If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath, the CDC advises you to stay quarantined for 14 days," Spohn said. "Most people will not need to be tested as a test result does not change the treatment recommendations. The symptoms of COVID-19 may last 7-12 days."

Spohn said those who are concerned can call the Oklahoma Coronavirus Call Center at 877-215-8336 or dial 2-1-1.

"Most patients will be able to care for themselves at home without going to the doctor," Spohn said. "However, if symptoms become severe or do not respond to over-the-counter treatments, people should contact their doctor by phone for further instructions."