With a weary voice, Texas County Emergency Manager Harold Tyson was not very positive Monday afternoon. Reporting 752 cases of COVID-19, he is expecting those numbers to rise even more. As of Tuesday afternoon, the numbers have jumped to 784 positive cases.
“In our drive through test Saturday we tested at 173 people,” Tyson said. “We’re working our butts off. We gave a lot of PPEs out to our people today.”
Tyson said he’s hoping more supplies will come soon.
Oklahoma State Health Department Regional Director Terri Salisbury says the Oklahoma National Guard has been a huge help as they ramp up testing.
“We have two medics… And they do our curbside testing,” Salisbury explained. “They also assisted us with testing in the drive thru pod this weekend. So they’re here at the health department daily doing our curbside testing.”
Overall, there are more than a dozen members of the Oklahoma National Guard helping with testing and contact follow-up, according to Salisbury.
“They have been super to work with,” Salisbury said. “They’ve been a lifesaver out in our district cause of the miles we have to drive. That has been a very big help for us.”
While 322 patients have recovered, and there have only been 4 deaths, Tyson said several are not doing very well at all and he’s afraid the death tole will rise over the next few days.
“An investigation into any positive result is standard and all persons in close contact with the person will be notified by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and advised of quarantine and testing procedure,” Texas County Emergency Management Public Information Officer Miranda Gilbert said.
As the number of positive cases continue to climb, Salisbury said the health department is doing everything they can to get in front of the spread of the virus.
“We’re attempting to test as many people as possible, contact all of the positives that we have, get the contacts that they have, close contacts from them, and follow up and ensure that they are isolating and monitoring for symptoms,” Salisbury said. “We’re also going to be doing some neighborhood (testing) in areas where we have a high incidence of the disease. We’re doing public service announcements over the radio.”
They are also working on TV ads to encourage social distancing, the use of masks when people are out in public, good hand sanitation, and frequent hand washing.
More information and regular updates from Texas County Emergency Management can be found on their Facebook page at Facebook.com/TexasCountyEM.