KEVIN HARVISON | Staff photo

McAlester Regional Health Center

McAlester Regional Health Center announced it received results from the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Pittsburg County.

A hospital representative said MRHC was notified of the positive coronavirus result Thursday night for a patient who has been in isolation at the facility since the patient arrived a few days earlier.

“The hospital has been anticipating this moment for several weeks and continues to stress how important it is that our community follows the guidelines from our medical professionals and the CDC,” MRHC officials said in a prepared statement.

“Expanded testing statewide is identifying more cases of COVID-19," MRHC continued. "Please be assured that McAlester Regional Health Center continues to be engaged to meet the demand of COVID-19 in our region.”

MRHC officials said the hospital is treating the patient in an isolated area that include negative air pressure rooms that keep persons under investigation away from other patients in the facility.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported earlier Thursday that statewide COVID-19 cases increased to 248 and seven death with 86 hospitalizations. The OSDH updates its numbers online once each day around 11 a.m.

“As the state continues to work aggressively with public and private partners to increase testing supplies in Oklahoma, it is likely that the increase in confirmed cases is related to an increase in testing in the state,” a situation update released Thursday from the OSDH states.

COVID-19 is a virus that caused a respiratory illness outbreak that started in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in late-2019 that led to a global pandemic.

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath and most patients recover, but the disease can lead to more severe illnesses, according to the OSDH.

Anyone developing a fever, shortness of breath or cough should contact their primary care physician or call the COVID-19 Call Center at (877) 215-8336 or 211 for assistance. Uninsured potential patients can call 211 for community resources.

Upon a positive test result, public health officials initiate an investigation by notifying the patient and provider to investigate and conduct tracing procedures.

State officials report short supplies of testing materials. OSDH announced it plans to establish four mobile test sites in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kay, and Pittsburg counties to develop best practices.

The initial phase started Wednesday with 100 test kits and limited testing supplies available at sites in Pittsburg and Kay counties. Sixteen samples were collected from Pittsburg County and tests are being processed by the Oklahoma Public Health Laboratory, according to the OSDH.

“With the number of cases rising each day, the OSDH urges the public to follow the Governor's ‘Safer at Home’ executive order," OSDH stated.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday afternoon that all non-essential businesses must close in counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases. The closures were among actions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as numbers increase statewide.

Stitt also banned all gatherings of 10 or more people, ordered all elderly and vulnerable Oklahomans to stay home until April 30, and suspended elective surgeries.

Contact Adrian O'Hanlon III at

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