New cases of COVID-19 reported in Okemah, Weleetka
By Ken Childers
There are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases in Okfuskee County, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reported on Tuesday.
According to OSDH, there is one active case in Okemah and one active case in Weleetka. One case has also been reported in Paden, but the patient’s status has been listed as “recovered” for the past several weeks.
Until Saturday, there had been no new cases of the virus reported in Okfuskee County, although a “false positive” case was included on the OSDH report for several days. On May 12, four Okemah police officers were quarantined after being told they had been exposed to someone who had tested positive. The officers were released from quarantine on May 14 after further testing of the individual yielded negative results, but the case continued to be reported as positive for about one week.
Last Thursday, ONL reached out to OSDH concerning the continued reporting of the false positive case and was told that it would no longer be reported. “Our team discussed this case and opted to change it to ‘not a case’ so it will no longer show up in this county’s numbers as of today’s reports. The original test was an ID Now rapid test so we believe it may have been a false positive based on having two successive negative PCR tests the following two days,” Shelley Zumwalt, Chief of Innovation, Office of Management and Enterprise Services (working on behalf of the OSDH) stated in an email.
On Tuesday, Zumwalt verified that the case currently being reported for Okemah is indeed a new one. “It is a new case. The Okfuskee County case total dropped to two on Friday (removal of the false positive). Then on Saturday a new case was identified, bringing the county case total to three – where it stands today,” Zumwalt stated.
Statewide, there were 6,137 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 reported as of Tuesday, but 4,823 patients had recovered. The number of deaths in Oklahoma attributed to the virus stood at 318. Tuesday’s report showed 1,662,302 cases, 98,220 deaths and nearly 380,000 recoveries nationwide.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clears up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
COVID-19 testing sites are open in multiple cities in Oklahoma as a result of a cross-county, city and state health system partnership. Visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov/testing-sites for updated dates and locations.