OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — As health experts across the globe deal with outbreaks of the coronavirus, it seems that Oklahoma officials are now dealing with a confirmed case locally.
On Friday, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health held a news conference to announce that the state has its first confirmed coronavirus case.
Gov. Kevin Stitt said that a Tulsa County man in his 50s, who recently traveled to Italy, tested positive for the virus. Officials say he is being quarantined while other suspected cases are being monitored.
“At this time, there is no evidence of community spread,” said Gov. Stitt.
Authorities say the patient traveled back to Tulsa on Feb. 23, but didn’t actually become ill until Feb. 29. They say he is stable, and is staying at home. The man’s family is also staying at home during the quarantine.
Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Gary Cox says that four people are currently being tested for the virus.
State leaders urge Oklahomans to stay away from ill patients and to frequently wash their hands. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
The virus is mainly spread from person-to-person, and symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure. Officials stress that the most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
If you do become sick, you are asked to stay away from others. If you have been in an area where the coronavirus is known to be spreading or been around a COVID-19 patient and develop symptoms, you are asked to call your doctor ahead of time and warn them that you might have been exposed to the virus. That way, experts say, they have the ability to take extra precautions to protect staff and other patients.
The novel coronavirus was first detected in China in December and has since spread to almost 80 locations across the globe, including the United States.
While the full extent of COVID-19 is not known yet, reported illnesses have ranged from extremely mild to severe, some resulting in death. Officials say that 80 to 85 percent of cases of COVID-19 have been mild, similar to a cold or the flu.
Older people and those with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at a greater risk for a serious case.
Commissioner of Health Gary Cox says they have been testing patients through the CDC, but are now able to test patients for COVID-19 locally.
Officials stress that if you are planning to travel for spring break, be aware of international travel destinations with level 2 or level 3 travel warnings.
So far, there were at least 265 cases and 14 deaths in the United States related to the coronavirus.