A shortage of COVID-19 specimen kits in Texoma was confirmed by a Carter County Health Department Official.
Julie Williamson, the public information officer for OSDH District 8, said that the number of test kits is less than 100.
“It is my understanding that there are less than 100 specimen collection kits in our district at this time,” she said. “I do not have any information about private specimen collection kits available at hospitals and doctors’ offices.”
OSDH District 8 includes Carter, Garvin, Love, Jefferson, Johnston, Marshall, Murray, Pontotoc, and Stephens Counties.
Williamson said the priority for kits at county health departments will be
based on very high-risk cases and those involved in public health case investigations.
She said the state health department is expecting an influx of testing kits into the state by the end of the week.
“When that is disbursed to local communities, we should have some guidance on public messaging about who will be eligible and where they can go,” she said. At a press conference on March 24, Governor Kevin Sttit said he expects more cases to be confirmed in the coming days.
“We know that as we continue to increase our testing capacity, we will continue to have an increased number of cases,” Stitt said. “Actually, I think our number of cases are closer to over 500 right now. They are going to get into the thousands.”
During the press conference, Stitt issued a safer at home order through April 30 for Oklahoma’s vulnerable populations but did not specify what that entailed.
The governor also closed all nonessential businesses in the 19 counties with confirmed cases beginning at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. He anticipated adding more counties to this list as cases are confirmed.
Confirmed area cases
A total of three positive COVID-19 cases have been identified in OSDH District 8 (two in Garvin County and one in Ponotoc County).
The number of positive COVID-19 tests in Oklahoma grew to 106 on March 24. This included a third death in the state from the virus.
In an earlier e-mail to local media outlets, Williamson provided the latest statewide testing numbers.
As of March 24, there are a total of 735 negative tests that have been done by the
State Public Health Laboratory.
Williamson also addressed reports of unconfirmed cases across the area.
“We are aware that there are many rumors circulating in our communities about positive cases,” she said. “Patients consulting their doctor may be told that they most likely have COVID-19 based on symptoms, but do not qualify for a test and need to isolate for 14 days. These cases are not counted in the official numbers since they are not laboratory confirmed.”
Williamson said because testing kits are still limited, most people will not need to be tested as there positive results will be added to the next public Media Advisory.”
Meanwhile, next test results have a different process, she said.
“As far as confirmation of negative cases, the test results go back to the provider who ordered it and they should be the one notifying the patient of the results,” Williamson said. For those who think they
For those who think they may have symptoms, Williamson recommends calling the Coronavirus Call Center at 877-215-8336 or 2-1-1.
“If symptoms become severe or do not respond to over-the-counter treatments, people should contact their doctor by phone for further instructions,” she said.