Friday, March 06, 2020

Oklahoma's first Coronavirus case confirmed in Tulsa

Tulsa Health Department Reports First Case of COVID-19

TULSA, OK – [March 6, 2020] – The Tulsa Health Department (THD) working collectively with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced earlier today in a press conference one positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Tulsa County.

  • The confirmed case is a male in his 50s with a travel history to Italy and there is no evidence of community spread.

This is the first confirmed case in the state of Oklahoma. This case is travel-related with travel history to Italy. Italy is a Level 3 Travel Health Notice country.  At this time, there is no evidence of community spread. THD is at the beginning stages of this investigation and new details and information will emerge over the next days and weeks. THD’s epidemiologists and emergency preparedness program are working hard to identify close contacts of this confirmed case. These close contacts may include family members, co-workers and other contacts.

THD, along with OSDH and Oklahoma City-County Health Department, have been actively monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has resulted in cases detected in several countries.

“Infection control and isolation protocols are already in place to prevent the spread of illness in Oklahoma,” said Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart.  “Our dedicated team of epidemiologists and emergency preparedness and response staff routinely operate under these protocols to prevent the spread of illness in Tulsa County. Our response plans are robust and scalable, and we are prepared to protect the health of our community residents.”

In Tulsa County, local organizations including THD, health care systems, city and county officials, and other response agencies work with Tulsa Area Emergency Management to ensure community disaster preparedness and response plans are in place. As the agency charged with addressing public health concerns within Tulsa County, THD must be prepared to take immediate steps to ensure public safety from diseases and other health threats. The plans are trained, exercised and evaluated to ensure they are operational. 

”There is no evidence of community spread at this time, and residents should know to be diligent and use caution,” said Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Everyone has a role to play in staying healthy.”

THD encourages all Tulsa County residents to be educated, stay informed and look for information from credible resources such as THD, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and/or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“The County is following the same processes as our City and Tulsa Health Department partners,” said Tulsa County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ron Peters.  “We have been reviewing our plans with the Health Department as they monitor the situation and provide critical information and we continue to communicate closely with them, the City and Tulsa Area Emergency Management as the situation evolves.”

With Spring Break approaching, the CDC advises to stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak. When returning from travel, to slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into the United States, CDC is working with state and local public health partners to implement after-travel health precautions. Depending on your travel history, you will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice).

If you have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread and you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call the Tulsa Health Department 918-582-WELL (9355) or your health care provider for recommendations.

The public can help:

  1. Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first.
  2. Stay home when you are sick.
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Help young children do the same. 
  4. Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or a weakened immune system.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  6. Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick. 
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  8. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands). Healthy individuals do not need masks; they are reserved for those who are ill to prevent the spread of germs and health care workers.
  9. Face masks should only be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The purpose of a face mask is to prevent droplets from sneezing and coughing from becoming airborne.
  10. Stay informed. Information is changing frequently. For more information, view the CDC update here.

“As THD continues monitoring COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks, you and your household also have an important role to play in ongoing prevention efforts,” said THD Division Chief of Preparedness and Response Kelly VanBuskirk. “Residents should go about their daily lives, but refresh your household emergency preparedness plan, practice good personal health habits and hygiene and educate yourself with information from credible sources and help stop the spread of rumors. We support and embrace a ‘neighbor helping neighbor’ approach to ensure individuals throughout our communities stay connected and receive the information and resources they need to stay healthy.”

Updates on the COVID-19, including health tips, fact sheets, case counts, and rumor control are available on the Tulsa Health Department website.

Blogger's note: the Oklahoma Department of Health has also set up a special clearinghouse webpage at with a lot of information about the illness.

Congressman Hern Responds to Announcement of Tulsa’s First Coronavirus Case

Tulsa, OK – Today, the Tulsa Health Department announced the news of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Tulsa.

“I’m continuing to monitor the situation and am in contact with health officials at the local and federal levels. We are the world’s leaders in medical innovation, I have no doubt that we will overcome the coronavirus threat and continue to set the pace for international progress”, said Rep. Hern, “We all must work together to prevent the spread of coronavirus, helping our neighbors by washing our hands, refraining from shaking hands or touching others, and staying away from crowded areas. Oklahomans are tough, our community has faced situations more severe than this and we came out stronger on the other end”.

The Tulsa Health Department has a hotline available to call with any questions regarding the Coronavirus or to report any possible cases. That number is 918-595-4500. The office of Congressman Hern is working with state and local partners to provide the public with the most up to date information about available resources in combating the Coronavirus.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the rapid and timely information on the caronavirus. I along with much of the state appreciate the effort.


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