The Tulsa Health Department (THD) working collectively with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced March 6 in a press conference one positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Tulsa County.
This is the first confirmed case in the state of Oklahoma. This case is travel-related with travel history to Italy. Italy is a Level 3 Travel Health Notice country. At this time, there is no evidence of community spread. THD is at the beginning stages of this investigation and new details and information will emerge over the next days and weeks. THD’s epidemiologists and emergency preparedness program are working hard to identify close contacts of this confirmed case. These close contacts may include family members, co-workers and other contacts.
THD, along with OSDH and Oklahoma City-County Health Department, have been actively monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has resulted in cases detected in several countries.
“Infection control and isolation protocols are already in place to prevent the spread of illness in Oklahoma,” said Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “Our dedicated team of epidemiologists and emergency preparedness and response staff routinely operate under these protocols to prevent the spread of illness in Tulsa County. Our response plans are robust and scalable, and we are prepared to protect the health of our community residents.”
In Tulsa County, local organizations including THD, health care systems, city and county officials, and other response agencies work with Tulsa Area Emergency Management to ensure community disaster preparedness and response plans are in place. As the agency charged with addressing public health concerns within Tulsa County, THD must be prepared to take immediate steps to ensure public safety from diseases and other health threats. The plans are trained, exercised and evaluated to ensure they are operational.
”There is no evidence of community spread at this time, and residents should know to be diligent and use caution,” said Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Everyone has a role to play in staying healthy.”
THD encourages all Tulsa County residents to be educated, stay informed and look for information from credible resources such as THD, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and/or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
“The County is following the same processes as our City and Tulsa Health Department partners,” said Tulsa County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ron Peters. “We have been reviewing our plans with the Health Department as they monitor the situation and provide critical information and we continue to communicate closely with them, the City and Tulsa Area Emergency Management as the situation evolves.”
With Spring Break approaching, the CDC advises to stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak. When returning from travel, to slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into the United States, CDC is working with state and local public health partners to implement after-travel health precautions. Depending on your travel history, you will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice).
If you have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread and you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call the Tulsa Health Department 918-582-WELL (9355) or your health care provider for recommendations.
The public can help:
“As THD continues monitoring COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks, you and your household also have an important role to play in ongoing prevention efforts,” said THD Division Chief of Preparedness and Response Kelly VanBuskirk. “Residents should go about their daily lives, but refresh your household emergency preparedness plan, practice good personal health habits and hygiene and educate yourself with information from credible sources and help stop the spread of rumors. We support and embrace a ‘neighbor helping neighbor’ approach to ensure individuals throughout our communities stay connected and receive the information and resources they need to stay healthy.”
Updates on the COVID-19, including health tips, fact sheets, case counts, and rumor control are available on the Tulsa Health Department website.