Okfuskee County reports first COVID-19 death

Okfuskee County reports first COVID-19 death
By Ken Childers
ONL Editor
Okfuskee County has reported its first death attributed to COVID-19, according to health officials.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) on Friday reported that a Boley man in the 65 or older age group had died from the illness. The exact date of the death was not provided, however the OSDH report indicated it was not identified within 24 hours of Friday, Aug. 7.
According to the OSDH there were 21 active cases in Okfuskee County as of Tuesday, including two in Castle, 10 in Okemah, five in Paden and four in Weleetka. The statewide total included 6,917 active cases, 618 deaths and 530 hospitalizations.
With a total of 67 confirmed cases, Okfuskee County is currently in the “low risk” category on the state health department’s COVID-19 Alert System map, a four-tiered risk measurement tool with corresponding color categories that identify the current risk level. The map is updated each Friday.
The newly-launched risk map ranges from “new normal” (coded in green, meaning positive cases are at a manageable level) to “high risk” in red. As of Friday, only one county, Cimarron County, was in the green risk zone with one confirmed case.
Fifty three of Oklahoma’s 77 counties were in the low risk, or yellow, category,  meaning COVID-19 positive cases are present in the community at an increased level, and the risk of infection is elevated. Viral testing and containment measures are able to identify most cases from a known source.
In addition to frequent hand washing and practicing social distancing, guidelines for individuals in the low risk phase include wearing face coverings when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Large or public gatherings and venues are suggested to operate under increased hygiene measures, physical distancing, face coverings, and symptom monitoring. Multiple meeting schedules to encourage smaller gatherings and online streaming options are also encouraged where applicable.
The rest of the state on Friday was in the moderate (orange) phase. In this phase, many COVID-19 positive cases are present in the community with undetected cases likely. The risk of infection is heightened by community spread, and robust testing and containment measures are recommended to mitigate further spread. To date, no “red” alerts have been issued.

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