Osage Health Dept. offers guidance on COVID-19

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The Osage County Health Department is working directly with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and other national, state, and local partners to monitor and respond to the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation as it continues to evolve internationally and nationally.

The international outbreak of COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving event. Oklahoma’s first COVID-19 case was announced last Friday by state officials. It was in Tulsa County.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health consults with health care providers to determine if patients meet the symptom and travel history criteria which would warrant further investigation and testing. We are testing individuals who meet the criteria for persons under investigation through the CDC at this time. The public health laboratory here in Oklahoma has received test kits from the CDC, and we are in the process of validating that the test kits work as expected. While testing is pending, our routine process of investigating suspected infectious disease events is to identify contacts who were at risk of exposure and implement control measures to prevent further transmission. If a case of COVID-19 in an Oklahoma resident is confirmed, it is important to note the risk to the general public is low. We are constantly monitoring the situation across the state and with our national and international health partners to stay ahead of the situation.

The Osage County Health Department and its medical and emergency medical partners, emergency management, and other community partners are in regular communication regarding COVID-19 situation updates, planning measures, and response needs.

Prevention tips for the coronavirus are similar to those of other respiratory illnesses and include:

• Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

• Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick

• Stay home when sick

• Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For accurate information on COVID-19 that is updated daily, please visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health website at coronavirus.health.ok.gov.