COVID-19 Press releases

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The Madill Record will post press releases involving COVID-19, and the various impacts from the pandemic. Come back for updates.

  • A doctor examines Juan Vasquez inside a testing tent at St. Barnabas hospital in New York City on March 20. Misha Friedman/Getty Images
    A doctor examines Juan Vasquez inside a testing tent at St. Barnabas hospital in New York City on March 20. Misha Friedman/Getty Images
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03/24/20 3:45 p.m.

 

First ICE detainee tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

A 31-year-old Mexican national is the first detainee to test positive for coronavirus in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, the agency announced Tuesday.

The detainee, who has been held at the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, New Jersey, has been quarantined and is receiving care, ICE said, adding that the agency “is suspending intake at the facility until further information is available.”

Immigrant advocates and lawmakers have warned about the potential spread of coronavirus in detention facilities, which have a checkered history of dealing with illnesses.

As part of its efforts to stop coronavirus from spreading, the agency recently announced it was temporarily suspending social visitation at ICE facilities "as a precautionary measure" – meaning family members, friends and advocates who used to be able to visit detained loved ones in person can't anymore, at least for now.

 

03/23/20 1:30 p.m.

 

Hospitals across Oklahoma have 9 days worth of personal protective equipment

From CNN’s Maria Cartaya

Hospitals in Oklahoma have 9.3 days worth on average of personal protective equipment on hand to treat patients and potential coronavirus patients, according to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's office.  

The Governor’s Solution Task Force has a heat map that labels hospitals in three categories based on their available supply, Stitt’s chief of communications Charlie Hannema told CNN.

The task force has also established a tiered system to ensure highest priority sites are supplemented to maintain adequate inventory.

 

03/23/20 10:00 a.m.

 

Amy Klobuchar's husband has coronavirus

From CNN's Clare Foran

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said her husband has tested positive for coronavirus.

"I have news that many Americans are facing right now: my husband John has the coronavirus. We just got the test results at 7 a.m. this morning," Klobuchar wrote in a Medium post.

The Democratic senator and former 2020 presidential candidate said that her husband has been "cut off from all visitors" and that she will also not see him during this time, but that she and her daughter "are constantly calling and texting and emailing."

"We love him very much and pray for his recovery. He is exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person," she wrote. Her husband was admitted to a Virginia hospital, she wrote, and now has pneumonia "and is on oxygen, but not a ventilator."

Klobuchar said that she and her husband have not been in the same place over the last two weeks and because "I am outside the 14-day period for getting sick, my doctor has advised me not to get a test."

 

03/23/2020 7:30 a.m.

 

Trump's retweets signal desire to end social distancing after 15 days

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Trump is sending retweets that seem to be encouraging an end to strong social distancing measures after the current 15-day period, despite concern from public health officials that it won't be long enough to blunt the worst of the coronavirus.

“15 days,” one user tweeted. “Then we isolate the high risk groups and the rest of us get back to work before it’s all over for everyone!! #Landslide2020” 

“Flatten the curve NOT the Economy,” reads a follow up tweet.

“After 15 days are over the world can begin to heal!,” another user tweeted. 

Yesterday, Trump tweeted this:

 

WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!

On Monday he retweeted one user, responding to his original tweet, who wrote, “Correct. 15 days, then we keep the high risk groups protected as necessary and the rest of us go back to work.”

 

03/21/20 5:00 p.m.

 

302 people have died from coronavirus in the United States

There are now at least 23,649 cases of coronavirus in the United States and 302 people have died from the virus, according to a CNN tally.

This includes cases in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

Here are the worst affected states:

  • New York -- 10,356 cases, 53 deaths
  • Washington -- 1,793 cases, 94 deaths
  • New Jersey -- 1,327 cases, 16 deaths
  • California -- 1,200 cases, 24 deaths

 

03/20/20 9:45 p.m.

Data from China shows the majority of people with Covid-19 only suffer mild symptoms, then recover

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová and Henrik Pettersson

Most people who contract the novel coronavirus experience mild symptoms, according to data from China, where the worst of the epidemic now appears to be over.

Last month, scientists from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a research paper analyzing the data for the first 72,314 people diagnosed with Covid-19.

Epidemiologists say it will take a long time to fully understand the mechanics of the coronavirus outbreak, but the information published by the Chinese scientists may give some insight into those most vulnerable to infection.

The data shows that men and women have roughly the same chance of contracting the virus. When the scientists looked at 44,672 patients confirmed to have the disease, they found there were 106 diagnosed men per 100 women.

However, the impact on men appears to be worse -- at least among those who were part of this initial study. While 2.8% of the men diagnosed with the disease died, only 1.7% of women did.

 

03/20/20 6:30 p.m. 

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Michelin North America has announced a temporary phased shutdown of some of its tire production facilities, including the Ardmore plant, due to the effects of COVID-19.

Michelin says the phased suspension will begin immediately and last at least two weeks. The affected areas exclude vital and critical tires, distribution and logistics. Employees at the Ardmore plant were told it will close Tuesday.

News 12 is told the company is still reviewing payroll policies to determine whether employees will be paid during the shutdown.

Michelin says it will continue to follow guidelines set by state and local governments with the goal of limiting the spread of COVID-19.

 

03/19/2020 1:00 p.m.

Bayer donates 3 million tablets of investigational coronavirus drug Resochin to the US

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Michael Nedelman

As federal agencies continue to investigate possible treatment options for the novel coronavirus, pharmaceutical company Bayer announced on Thursday that it is donating 3 million tablets of its antimalarial drug chloroquine phosphate to the US government. 

Sharing details first with CNN, Bayer said in a statement that chloroquine phosphate, sold under the name Resochin, originally has been indicated for the prevention and treatment of malaria, but also appears to have “broad spectrum antiviral properties” and effects on the body’s immune response.

“New data from initial preclinical and evolving clinical research conducted in China, while limited, shows potential for the use of Resochin in treating patients with COVID-19 infection,” the statement said.

“Bayer in recent days has been in talks with the White House, HHS, CDC, and the FDA, offering any assistance we can provide with a focus on donating Resochin to help in the government's efforts to combat the virus. Currently not approved for use in the United States, Bayer is working with appropriate agencies on an Emergency Use Authorization for the drug's use in the U.S,” the statement said. “Bayer thanks the Trump administration for moving quickly to enable this donation and will continue to work closely with the administration to support its efforts in the fight against COVID-19.”

Earlier Thursday: President Trump said the antimalarial drug chloroquine and its analog hydroxychloroquine would be available with a prescription to treat the novel coronavirus.

Early evidence from human cells suggests that chloroquine — which is used to treat malaria and autoimmune diseases — may have some activity against the novel coronavirus. 

Doctors in China, the US and other countries have used the drug experimentally in COVID-19 patients, but there is not yet sufficient clinical evidence that it's effective in humans. 

 

03/19/2020 - 10:30 a.m.

Southeastern to complete spring semester with online classes

By UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS

DURANT, Okla. – As a precaution and in joining the global effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Southeastern Oklahoma State University has announced a few changes in its normal operations.

At the time of this release, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bryan County, Oklahoma.

Interim president Dr. Bryon Clark detailed the changes today in an email to the campus community.

“While we realize these actions may cause some inconveniences, we are acting in the best interests of the University,’’ Clark said. “The safety, health and welfare of our students, faculty, staff, and community is our top priority. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and make any adjustments or modifications that may be necessary. We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as we work through this situation together.’’

In essence, the University is limiting the number of individuals on the main campus in Durant and on the McCurtain County campus from now until further notice. Also during this time, these campuses and buildings will be closed to the general public, and all University events are cancelled until further notice. However, essential University operations will continue during this time to meet the needs of students and provide business services, with a limited number of staff on-site; the majority of employees will be teleworking.

Students will be on an extra week of spring break (March 23-27) to allow faculty with  preparation time to convert face-to-face classes to an online format the following week. (Current online courses will resume as scheduled on Monday, March 23).

All classes for the remainder of the spring semester, which ends May 8, will now be taught online. Due to health officials’ recommendations to limit the size of events, Southeastern’ spring commencement, scheduled for May 9, will not be held. Instead,  the University will examine options for a later date, and work with students to create a possible alternative plan to recognize their achievements.

Those students who must remain in residential housing on the main campus will continue to receive services such as housing and meals; however, students are encouraged to seek other living arrangements, if possible.

 

03/19/2020 - 9:00 a.m.

Moore, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) announced his decision to self-quarantine until March 27 in response to news that a Republican Member of Congress tested positive for COVID-19.

“On Wednesday evening, I was informed by the Attending Physician of Congress that my friend Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart has tested positive for COVID-19. While I have no symptoms and feel fine, I was around him for an extended period last week. Out of an abundance of caution, I am following the doctor’s instructions to self-quarantine until March 27.

“During this time, I remain fully engaged in the U.S. response to this coronavirus, and operations in my offices continue. As Congress considers the next steps for legislation to help the American people during this crisis, I encourage all Oklahomans and Americans to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. For the health and safety of us all, continue taking seriously the precautions outlined by the President’s Coronavirus Task Force and the guidance of our local and state leaders and health authorities. Remain vigilant in washing your hands, disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, cover your mouth when you cough, stay home and away from others when you’re sick and avoid groups of more than 10 people. We can and will get through this together.”

Cole’s staff is operating entirely by telework. All calls are forwarded to (405) 329-6500. Emails sent on Cole’s website are still monitored and returned (cole.house.gov/contact/email). In addition, Cole will continue to provide updates on Facebook (facebook.com/TomColeOK04), on Twitter (twitter.com/TomColeOK04) and through his e-newsletter (cole.house.gov/contact/newsletter).

 

3/18/2020 - 4:00 p.m.

RECENTLY ENACTED LEGISLATIVE CHANGES TO OPEN MEETING ACT

DURING COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY – Senate Bill 661

On Tuesday, March 17, the Oklahoma State Legislature made some emergency changes to the Open Meetings Act.  The bill included the “emergency clause” and went into effect immediately upon signature of the Governor this morning.  Senate Bill 661 is designed to be a temporary measure that will cease to be in effect when the Governor lifts the COVID-19 state of emergency OR on November 15, 2020 – whichever occurs first. 

The Legislature was compelled to act quickly to allow public bodies to meet telephonically to continue to do government business with some transparency to the public and press.  Both legislative bodies – House and Senate – are now adjourned until the call of the chair, meaning they may not reconvene for several days (or even weeks depending on the severity of the crisis) which is why they wanted to get this done before going leaving the Capitol.  There may be a “trailer bill” filed before the legislative session ends in May to clean up some imperfections in this temporary law.

Oklahoma’s Attorney General Mike Hunter and I spoke while the new law was being considered by the House and Senate.  General Hunter promised to write and provide an FAQ to help guide us all through this unprecedented time and application of this temporary law.  Attached to this email is a copy of the FAQ #1 from the Oklahoma Attorney General.  They will release FAQ #1 to state agencies and political subdivisions (cities, schools, counties, etc.) asap today.

Remember that public bodies are not required to do video or telephonic meetings under this law.  They can continue to operate as they always have.  There are many states that currently uses various forms of telephonic meetings so it isn’t the end of the world, but it will be a different world for a while. 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Contact all of the public bodies you cover and make sure you are on the list to receive all agendas and meeting notices, especially if they are going to hold virtual meetings.

2. Be checking government web sites or other electronic distribution methods for posting of agendas to public meetings.

3. Be prepared to tape record meetings as you listen in to video and telephone meetings.  There will still be written minutes of meetings and the AG is strongly suggesting the public bodies tape record all telephonic meetings.  However, having your own recording may be the most helpful to you in the short term.  (Who knows how long it will take for a local public body to prepare and provide you with a recording of the meeting.)

 

3/18/2020

Choctaw Nation COVID-19 update

DURANT, Okla. (March 18, 2020) As a public health precaution to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is announcing the following closings. Given how quickly this situation is evolving, the Choctaw Nation will continue to provide updates on the CNO website, intranet and via email. The health and safety of our tribal members, associates and communities is our biggest concern at this time. Choctaw Nation Early Head Start and Child Care Centers. Choctaw Nation is following Oklahoma State Department of Education guidance on closures. The early head start and child care facilities will close Friday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m. and will remain closed until at least April 6. Staff members will partner with local schools to assist in providing meals and other necessities for families with children in local communities.Tushka Homma Museum and Wheelock Museum. The Choctaw Nation museums are closing effective immediately and will remain closed until at least April 3.

Further updates with additional details will be provided as needed. Please check the Choctaw Nation social media outlets and official website at www.choctawnation.com for the latest information.

 

3/18/2020- 3:15 p.m.

Senate passes coronavirus relief legislation

From CNN's Clare Foran and Ted Barrett 

The Senate just passed the House-passed coronavirus relief legislation that includes provisions for free testing for COVID-19 and paid emergency leave.

The measure will now go to President Trump for his signature. Trump expressed support for the package last week, paving the way for a broad bipartisan vote in the House.

The final tally was 90-8. The “no” votes were Sens. Marsha Blackburn, Jim Inhofe, James Lankford, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse, Tim Scott and Ron Johnson.

Passage will also allow the Senate to devote its full attention to passing the next relief package in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Some background: McConnell and other Senate Republicans had been critical of the House-passed legislation, but emphasized that it is urgent to get relief to the American people amid the coronavirus crisis. McConnell reiterated today that he will not adjourn the Senate until it passes what lawmakers are describing as a "phase three" economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

After an initial vote last week, the House approved a set of changes to the legislation on Monday, clearing the path for the Senate to take it up this week.

 

3/18/2020 - SITUATION UPDATE: COVID-19 from the Oklahoma Health Department

Editors Note: This advisory includes a correction to the table of county cases. The total number of cases remains unchanged. 

  • As of this advisory, there are 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
  • At this time, all test results conducted through the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) public health laboratory are sent to the ordering physician or submitting clinical facility. Test status or results will not be provided by phone. If test results are positive, public health officials initiate an investigation, which results in notifying the patient and provider to conduct the case investigation and contact tracing procedures.
  • Testing materials remain in short supply. Patients are encouraged to consult their physician or public health professional about their symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Clinicians may recommend testing for other respiratory illnesses, including flu, before recommending a COVID-19 test. Those individuals who are uninsured may call 211 for community resources.
  • OSDH encourages people who need to engage with state agencies to visit the agency’s website to learn more about online options rather than visiting state agency offices. Please visit Oklahoma.gov for a directory of state agencies and links to their websites.
  • For more information, visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov 

 

COVID-19 Oklahoma Test Results

Positive (In-State) - 17

Positive (Out-of-State) - 2

Negative - 247

PUIs Pending Results - 82

COVID-19 Cases by County

Canadian  -2

Cleveland - 1

Jackson - 1

Kay - 2

Oklahoma - 6

Pawnee - 1

Payne - 1

Tulsa - 3

Total - 17

COVID-19 Cases by Age Grouping

COVID-19 Cases as of 3/17/2020

Age Group, Years

00-04 - 0

05-17- 0

18-49 - 8

50-64 - 5

65+ - 4

Total - 17

Age Range

20-69 yrs

COVID-19 Cases by Gender

Female -  6

Male - 11

Total - 17

Data Source: Acute Disease Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health.
*As of 3/17/2020 11:00 a.m.