TULSA, OK – [June 12, 2020] – Today the Tulsa Health Department (THD) reported its new highest daily increase of COVID-19 cases to date. Seventy-one Tulsa County residents were reported as confirmed cases today, bringing the total confirmed to 1,443 individuals. 1,008 of those residents have recovered, 373 are currently active, and 62 Tulsa County residents have died. Data analysts with the department reported meaningful increases in case trends early this week.
Initial investigations on cases reported this week have identified an outbreak linked to indoor gatherings, which large groups of people congregated in close contact for prolonged periods of time. Investigations continue to determine how many of the new cases are associated with this outbreak.
In epidemiology, an outbreak is a sudden increase in occurrences of a disease in a particular time and place. It may affect a small and localized group or impact upon thousands of people across an entire continent. Four linked cases of an infectious disease, such as the coronavirus, may be sufficient to constitute an outbreak. However, public health experts expect to see case numbers increase exponentially as the number of infected residents increases.
“I have concerns about large groups of people gathering indoors for prolonged lengths of time. It is imperative that anyone who chooses to host or attend a gathering take the steps to stay safe. If you are sick or think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home,” said Dr. Dart. “The bottom line is that the more people an infected individual interacts with and the longer that interaction lasts, the greater the risk for spreading COVID-19 becomes.”
According to the CDC, large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area pose the highest risk for the spread of COVID-19.
On June 1, events with no size limit resumed in Tulsa in conjunction with Phase 3 of reopening in Oklahoma. Special event permits can be issued pursuant to the State’s Reopening Plan. THD encourages Tulsa County residents and visitors to continue to exercise public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community when attending large mass gatherings including conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other types of assemblies. Further guidance is available from the CDC and the Oklahoma’s Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) Plan.
As a public health agency, the law allows THD to perform and advise on health-related services. However, the authority to manage, oversee and enforce public gatherings rests with each individual jurisdiction.
Everyone is advised to practice personal responsibility at gatherings by wearing a cloth face covering in public and practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from other people. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
According to the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. Anyone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and contact their health care provider. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
If hosting a gathering, ensure that hand sanitizer, tissues, trash baskets, disposable facemasks and cleaners and disinfectants are available to guests. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects with detergent and water prior to disinfection, especially surfaces that are visibly dirty. It’s important to clean and disinfect these frequently touched surfaces regularly throughout the day. Remind guests that if they are feeling under the weather to stay home.
The Tulsa Health Department continues to offer specimen collection for COVID-19 testing by appointment only. Call 918-582-9355 to speak to a public health professional. For more information, please visit www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19.
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