As one of the counties now listed for positive COVID-19 cases, Pottawatomie County — now showing one reported — is under more restrictions, as ordered by Gov. Kevin Stitt. This week Stitt ordered all non-essential businesses be closed for the next 21 days in Oklahoma counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

[This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. If local news is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the news-star at news-star.com/subscribe.]

As one of the counties now listed for positive COVID-19 cases, Pottawatomie County — now showing one reported — is under more restrictions, as ordered by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

This week Stitt ordered all non-essential businesses be closed for the next 21 days in Oklahoma counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The amendment provides for the following measures in the 27 counties with community spread:

• Requires restaurants to provide take-out and delivery options only and closes all bars in those counties.

• Effective Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. through April 15, the edict closes all businesses not identified as being within a critical infrastructure sector, such as gyms, salons, massage parlors and movie theaters.

OSDH said non-essential businesses are those providing items or services that are socially driven, such as gyms, bars and other similar businesses and services. Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and other services Oklahomans depend on to care for themselves and others are open; a full list of essential services can be found at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber Infrastructure website, at cisa.gov.

Oklahoma County still leads as having the most cases — 55 have been reported there so far. Cleveland and Tulsa Counties were tied at 27 as of Wednesday, while Pawnee jumped to seven cases. Kay County has held steady at five cases for the past few days. Canadian and Creek Counties bumped up to five cases Wednesday. The other 20 counties are reporting three, two or one case each.

Statewide

Stitt's amended Executive Order also provides for the following statewide measures (in all 77 counties):

• Issues a statewide “Safer at Home” order for adults over the age of 65 and vulnerable individuals with serious underlying medical conditions.

• Limits gatherings to no more than 10 people.

• Prohibits visitations to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

• Postpones all elective surgeries, minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures until April 7, 2020.

Latest update

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 164 positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Oklahoma. New counties with cases include Adair, Bryan, Carter, Creek, Delaware, Osage, Pottawatomie and Stephens, bringing the number to 27 (counties).

Also, an additional two COVID-19-related deaths were reported, both from Oklahoma County — one male in his 70s and one male in his 40s — bringing the total to five in the state. The first one was reported Saturday; then one on Sunday; one on Tuesday; and two Wednesday.

Though Pottawatomie County Health Department and SSM Health St. Anthony Shawnee both confirmed the report of one positive case in the county, they did not share where the case was reported from or any other details.

Local guidelines

As reports of cases increase, amended orders are being issued from various levels of municipalities — sometimes daily. Residents should watch for updates often.

Shawnee Police Department Public Information Officer Cpl. Vivian Lozano-Stafford encourages residents to continue adhering to social distancing efforts, avoiding groups of 10 or more, and staying home as much as possible.

“At this time there is no adult curfew in place,” she said. Residents are free to travel — keeping mindful of executive orders.

Shawnee Police Chief Mason Wilson said these are tough times for everyone.

“Our hope is that everyone will do their part to keep our community safe,” he said. “We all have a role in stopping the spread of COVID 19.”

Outside of further spread of the coronavirus, it is unclear what consequences are being enforced on those who fail to comply with federal, state and local edicts.

Wilson said the SPD will assess every situation on an individual basis.

“We have to address each incident individually, with so many factors involved,” he explained. “Everyone should take the federal, state and local declarations seriously.”

Testing

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has been working aggressively to establish four satellite testing locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kay and Pittsburg counties.

To effectively develop a large-scale, statewide, satellite testing platform, OSDH is implementing a limited rollout in order to develop best practices for a more robust platform.

OSDH and its public health care partners will begin these new testing sites in phases. Phase one rolled out Wednesday in Pittsburg County, with 100 test kits, and Kay County with limited testing supplies.

Setting up this initial test phase allowed the state's medical professionals to gather public health data, outside of the hospital setting, while determining the projected capacity needed for effective COVID-19 testing throughout Oklahoma.

“We remain committed to making decisions based on reliable data, emerging science and the advice of experts from my Governor’s Solution Task Force, the State Department of Health and the CDC on how to best slow the spread of COVID-19,” Stitt said. “These new action items will allow us to ensure we remain proactive in our response to this on-going crisis; we will continue to take the necessary precautions and steps in order to prioritize the health and safety of all four million Oklahomans.”

During the press conference, the governor said the state is working on a plan to designate hospitals in Oklahoma and Tulsa County to treat all COVID-19 patients. This will occur through attrition.

Prayer event

Stitt also declared Thursday a Statewide Day of Prayer for all Oklahomans impacted by COVID-19.

In recognition of this day of prayer, the Governor has called for Oklahoma faith leaders to unite together at a special prayer and worship event titled “Let Hope Rise: Together In Prayer for Oklahoma.”

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and will be televised live on Griffin Communications stations News 9 in Oklahoma City and News On 6 in Tulsa. Viewers can also stream online at https://transformchurch.us/. In-person attendance will not be allowed in accordance with current social distancing guidelines.

“I know this is an uncertain or anxious time for many Oklahomans right now,” Stitt said. “That is why I believe it is important we join together as a state and pray for God’s blessing, protection and strength as we face a challenge that is unprecedented in its scope.”

Stay informed

For more information about COVID-19, visit cdc-gov or coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

For more information about local guidelines, visit shawneeok.org.

For more information about state guidelines, visit ok.gov.

For more information about federal guidelines, visit whitehouse.gov.

Also, watch updates at news-star.com.