Curbside COVID-19 testing begins in Osage County

Robert Smith

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced last Friday that it would begin curbside testing Monday at the Osage County Health Department on a by-appointment-only basis for the novel coronavirus.

Access to a test was conditioned on a person having a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, a cough, or shortness of breath. In other words, a person seeking an appointment to be tested had to present at least one of the three most-common symptoms of COVID-19, the illness that the coronavirus causes.

District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones said Monday morning, just before a county board meeting, that the Osage County Health Department had materials on-hand for 26 tests and was anticipating delivery of 60 more tests during the day. The Osage County Health Department would be able to obtain even more tests, as needed, Jones said.

When the state Health Department’s daily situation report on COVID-19 came out later Monday morning, it showed the county with 31 positive tests and three deaths. Osage County’s first positive test for the coronavirus was publicly reported March 31. The county’s first COVID-19 death was reported April 2.

Statewide, the report for April 6 showed 1,327 positive tests and 51 deaths. Figures for counties that neighbor Osage County were as follows: Washington County, 39 positives, 1 death; Tulsa County, 249 positives, 8 deaths; Pawnee County, 22 positives, 1 death; and Kay County, 30 positives, 1 death.

The U.S. nationwide death toll from COVID-19 exceeded 10,000 people as of Monday afternoon. There were more than 347,000 cases of the illness in the U.S. at that point.

The state of Oklahoma had, to date, mandated that non-essential businesses should close until at least April 30, and that there should be no gatherings of more than 10 people. Vulnerable populations and persons over the age of 65 were urged to stay home. People who did leave their homes on essential business errands were urged to practice social distancing and frequently wash their hands.