Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Liberty and Eastside Elementary Plan Teacher Caravan for Students

Teachers at Liberty and Eastside Elementary School in Sallisaw have a special treat planned for their students: a caravan of teachers!

The caravan will begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the schools and will feature a convoy of teachers, administrators and support staff eager to wave at the students!

“The school wanted to do something for our kids to let them know how much we miss them,” teacher Terri Burnsed said Tuesday. She said the caravan will travel through bus routes and will visit neighborhoods and apartment complexes where the students live.

Students are asked to stay either on their porches or in their driveways. “Please don’t run out to our cars!” Burnsed requested. “We have spent a lot of time together,” she said, “and the caravan is one safe way we can make contact with our students.”

In order to provide a safe and positive caravan experience that also adheres to social distancing guidelines, the school is asking that everyone please be aware of and follow these guidelines:

• Keep all children (and adults) off the street as the caravan passes by.
• Do not approach any vehicle.
• Do not attempt to make physical contact with anyone in a vehicle.
• Do not attempt to pass anything to anyone in a vehicle.
• Please maintain a significant distance (at least 6 feet, more is better) between you and anyone who is not a member of your immediate family.

The caravan will travel along the following route through Sallisaw:

*West on East Creek to South Wheeler
*To Iola
*To West Ruth Ave
*To JT Stites
*To Cherokee
*To Don's Mobile Homes
*To Cherokee
*To North Jefferson
*To Redwood
*To North Elm
*To Quesenbury
*To Wheeler
*To Cherokee
*To school

Burnsed also said Liberty Elementary has put together some work packets for students to work on for the last six weeks of the school year. They may be picked up at the school Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit the school’s Facebook page and website.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

For more news stories stay tuned to The MIX 105.1 or visit www.kxmx.com


Monday, March 30, 2020

Blood Can’t Wait! OBI Urges Healthy Adults to Give Blood April 3 - 14

Hundreds of blood drives have been canceled because of escalating concerns regarding coronavirus. These cancellations will result in the loss of thousands of blood units, but blood can’t wait. Blood donation is safe and critical to preventing a blood shortage. Local patients need life-saving blood now more than ever.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) is hosting upcoming blood drives. Donors are encouraged to give blood at one of these locations, and appointments are strongly encouraged to aid with social distancing:

Walmart Sallisaw: Friday, April 3, 1:30-5:30 p.m.
NHS Sequoyah: Tuesday, April 14, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the bloodmobile.

OBI depends on 1,200 donors per day to support the inventory needed for patients in more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.   

“Blood is a perishable product and we need constant donations not only to meet our community needs, but in case of local and national emergencies,” said John Armitage, M.D., OBI’s president and CEO. “We urge healthy adults to donate blood so that the crucial supply can be maintained for our local patients who depend on blood products during treatment for cancer, traumatic injuries and other life-threatening conditions.”

OBI’s donor centers and mobile blood drives have instituted additional cleaning methods, decontaminating work and common areas and equipment frequently. In addition, donor centers and mobile blood drives are being adapted to allow for social distancing. All staff and donors will also have their temperatures taken before starting work or entering the facility to ensure only healthy individuals are present.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute is following recommendations and guidelines set forth by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks). OBI is committed to maintaining the safest standards for blood collection, testing and transfusion.

The FDA reports no cases of COVID-19 transmitted through blood transfusion, and respiratory viruses generally are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion.

Blood donation typically takes only about an hour, and one donation saves up to three lives. Appointments can be made by calling Greg at (479) 652-2362 or visiting obi.org. More information on Oklahoma Blood Institute can be found at obi.org.

Please note that 16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission to donate; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds to donate; 18-year-olds must weigh at least 110 pounds to donate.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Traffic Stop Sends Two to Jail

A man from Vilonia, Ark., was arrested after a March 9 traffic stop turned up drug paraphernalia and a wanted suspect.

Thomas William Cleland Jr., 25, was charged with harboring a fugitive from justice, a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and a $10,000 fine. Cleland was also hit with two misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, as well as misdemeanor charges of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and operating a vehicle with an expired/improper tag.

According to the arrest report, a Sallisaw police officer patrolling in the area of South Kerr Boulevard and Mentzer Street saw a white SUV make an improper lane change. The officer noticed the vehicle’s paper tag was expired and initiated a traffic stop.

The driver, Cleland, handed the officer his identification, but his passenger said he did not have ID on him and gave his name as “Dwight Baldandoe.” A check with dispatch did not turn up anything under that name. Cleland told officers that as far as he knew, “Dwight” was his passenger’s name.

The officer ordered “Dwight” out of the vehicle, but when he was being patted down, the man tried to hide something around his waistband. “Dwight” admitted to having a little marijuana on him. Officers then found a wallet on the passenger’s seat with the name Kelton Chandler.

Chandler had an outstanding felony warrant in Sequoyah County and was subsequently arrested. Officers then patted down Cleland, who admitted to having “the bad stuff,” methamphetamine, in his pockets. Officers discovered a clear plastic bag containing two cut straws, a glass smoking device with a burned residue, a clear plastic bag with a white, crystalline substance inside weighing 3.2 grams (also known as an 8-ball), a small, heat-sealed bag that also had the white substance inside it and another plastic bag containing a green, leafy substance.

Chandler later told police that Cleland knew what his real name was and that they had known each other for at least eight years.

The men were transported to the Sallisaw City Jail.

Cleland was released on $2,500 bond.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Legal Aid Services Helps Those in Need

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma provides legal assistance to residents in need.

The agency can help you with problems created by the coronavirus such as if you are unemployed or unable to work. It can also help you if you have been denied for benefits such as unemployment, sick leave and food stamps. Legal Aid can help people facing eviction, unpaid debts and bill collectors. The agency can also help connect people with health benefits, and it helps people get out of domestic violence situations.

To apply for assistance from Legal Aid, call (888) 534-5243 or go to oklegalconnect.org. For legal information, check out oklaw.org

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma is a nonprofit law firm that believes access to the legal system is just as important as food, shelter and clothing. The group’s goal is to provide free or low-cost services to eligible people, including senior citizens. Its attorneys and paralegals can help with civil, non-criminal cases involving basic needs.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Commissioners Proclaim April Sexual Assault Awareness, Child Abuse Prevention Month

At their weekly meeting Monday, the Sequoyah County Board of Commissioners proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.

The Sequoyah County Board of Commissioners approved two road repair projects.

The commissioners unanimously approved a right-of-entry for a construction permit on W.D. Mayo County Road in county District 1, and they approved putting out for bid a Marble City road failure project in District 2.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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OETA Makes Distance Learning Easy

Starting today, March 30, OETA will be adjusting its daytime schedule to provide curriculum-based programming for students over the air on its broadcast channel, OETA WORLD. Programs will include PBS favorites such as NOVA, Nature, American Experience as well as PBS KIDS programming. Each episode or series directly correlates to lessons and resources made available through PBS LearningMedia, which have been designed to meet federal and state standards for grades Pre-K through 12.

Programming changes will take place from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and will last until the end of the school year. 

OETA and the Oklahoma Department of Education will be hosting a joint discussion today as a way for people to learn more about this opportunity. The webinar will provide resources and lessons to help you learn how to leverage OETA programming as you develop your distance-learning plans. You will also be introduced to a virtual course you can access any time to gain further support and connect with other educators who are using OETA resources. The webinar will be live steamed at 2 p.m. today through OSDE’s Facebook page.

PBS LearningMedia is a free, digital curriculum service that builds on the strength of public media and is designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Resources are aligned to national and state standards and include videos and interactives, as well as audio, documents and in-depth lesson plans. You can browse by standards, grade level and subject area. It is free for students, teachers and parents, but personal accounts are required. Most activities and/or lessons are available in Spanish and several other languages.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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DPS Begins Online Drivers License Renewal

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased efforts to encourage residents to stay in their homes to slow the spread of the virus, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) is announcing the launch of online renewals and replacements for Class D driver licenses and identification cards. 

“This latest digital service is an additional step we can take during this unprecedented time to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and give our customers the option to complete transactions from the comfort of their home,” DPS Commissioner John Scully said.

The rapid production of the online driver license renewals for the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety was built in partnership with the Office of Management Enterprise Services and Granicus, the leading provider of cloud-based solutions and services for governments.

Customers can complete the application by going to www.dps.ok.gov and clicking on “online services.” They can also find a link at my.ok.gov as well. Customers will have to create an account at my.ok.gov. To use this service, the customer’s previous renewal must have been made in person. The only exception to this is customers (including spouses and dependents) who are active duty or civilian contractors with the Armed Forces of the United States. A customer may only renew or replace their driver license if their driving privilege is in good standing and their Oklahoma address is correct and current. You can update your Oklahoma address online at https://wa1.dps.state.ok.us/addresschange.

A customer may use this procedure to renew or replace a Class D license or ID Card only. Renewals may be made up to one year early. Replacements can be obtained any time during the four-year period the license is valid. Commercial Driver Licenses (Class A, B, or C) require an appearance before an examiner for clearance.

Customers choosing online renewal will have the option to pay online by credit card or click “pay later” to mail a check. The new driver license or identification card will then be sent to the customer by mail.

There is a small service fee to be able to do this online. A renewal will cost $40.69 and a replacement will cost $26.65. The costs to do this service in the office are $38.50 for a renewal and $25 for a replacement.

DPS offices will still be open to the public by appointment only.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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OK Dept. of Wildlife Areas Remain Open

While offices are closed to the public, all wildlife management areas, fishing lakes and shooting ranges of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, along with all Oklahoma state parks day-use and RV/tent camping areas, remain open for public use at this time. People wanting to get outdoors during the coronavirus health crisis are urged to do so while adhering to the safety guidelines issued by federal (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html), state (https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/) and local governments.

However, areas not owned by the Wildlife Department might be temporarily closed to the public at the discretion of the agency in charge of those areas. These areas might include U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properties, U.S. Forest Service areas, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sites and municipal parks and reservoirs. People planning to visit outdoor areas are urged to contact the agency in charge of the area to find out if it is open for public use.

“The Wildlife Department is still welcoming our constituents to visit our lakes and wildlife areas, and enjoy Oklahoma’s great outdoors. There’s good fishing now, hiking, bird-watching opportunities — all great ways to get into the fresh air and sunshine, and enjoy some relaxation while practicing social distancing,” said J.D. Strong, director of the Wildlife Department.

While the outdoors are always open, it is also important for everyone to follow the health recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes social distancing; a good way to comply is to stay at least a fishing rod’s length away from others.

In his executive order issued Tuesday, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said residents 65 and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions should stay in their residence except when working in a critical infrastructure sector or when they must conduct essential errands. He also prohibited social gatherings of more than 10 people.

To learn more about the status of outdoor areas, here are some online resources:

Oklahoma state parks: https://www.travelok.com/state-parks. Lodges, nature centers, group camps/dining halls and community buildings are closed through April 15.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: https://www.swt.usace.army.mil/Park-and-Campground-Closures/. At some Corps reservoirs, parks and camping sites are closed but boat ramps remain open.

U.S. Forest Service: https://www.fs.usda.gov/. Recreation areas in Ouachita National Forest have been temporarily closed.

Many smaller parks and lakes are controlled by local cities and towns. Check with municipal authorities for the closure status of those areas.

People who visit Wildlife Department areas are reminded that normal usage regulations remain in effect. Some WMAs are closed to all non-hunting activities during spring turkey hunting seasons that begin April 4 (for youths) and run through May 6. For specific area regulations, consult the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide found online at wildlifedepartment.com, on the free Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app for Apple or Android devices, or in print across the state wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Virus Fears Impact April 7 Election

An election emergency declaration issued March 18 by the state Election Board secretary will impact elections scheduled for April 7 in Sequoyah County, Cindy Osborn, the county Election Board secretary, said Monday.

The election emergency allowed all entities, including those with statutory school board member elections, to reschedule their April 7 elections to another date allowed by law. The declaration was issued in response to the current COVID-19 health crisis, which has resulted in federal, state and local restrictions.

Osborn said the following Board of Education elections have been postponed and rescheduled for June 30.

Belfonte, C-50 Office 3

Vian, I-2 Office 5

Braggs, I-46 Office 5

Absentee ballots issued for the April 7 election are no longer valid and should be destroyed.

Voters who were issued an absentee ballot for the April 7 vote will be issued a new ballot for the June 30 election if they are currently signed up to receive absentee ballots for all elections in which they are eligible to vote for the 2020 election year.

Voters who applied for an absentee ballot for April 7 only will need to submit a new absentee ballot request for the June 30 election in order to vote in the rescheduled elections. Absentee ballots can be requested online using the OK Voter Portal at https://www.ok.gov/elections/OVP.html. Applications can also be downloaded at https://www.ok.gov/elections/voter_info/absentee_voting/index.html

While Annex Building 2 remains closed to the public, the Sequoyah County Election Board will continue to conduct business as usual by phone, email and mail. Business hours may be modified because of the unusual circumstances, but calls and emails will be returned in a timely manner. Voters who need to conduct business in person can call or email the county Election Board at (918) 775-2614 or sequoyahcounty@elections.ok.gov to make special arrangements. Voters can also visit the Oklahoma State Election Board website at elections.ok.gov for more information.

The Sequoyah County Election Board is at 110 E. Creek St. in Sallisaw.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Vian Man Charged with Eluding after High Speed Chase

A Vian man pleaded not guilty March 20 to two felony charges for allegedly leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase.

Gregory McIntyre III, 23, was charged with endangering others while eluding/attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm after former felony conviction. His next court appearance is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 1.

According to a report by the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office, on March 14, a deputy observing traffic on Interstate 40 near Exit 308 spotted a white Acura and a red Cadillac traveling west on the interstate. The cars were swerving toward each other and driving erratically, prompting the deputy to initiate a traffic stop.

The Cadillac immediately pulled over when the deputy activated his emergency lights, but the Acura, being driven by McIntyre, sped off with the deputy in pursuit. The deputy reported traveling at speeds above 120 mph and still the Acura pulled away from his vehicle. 

The deputy lost sight of the Acura, but another deputy soon radioed dispatch that he had found the car overturned just north of East 1050 Road and South 4570 Road. 

When the deputy went to talk with McIntyre at the crash scene, the man asked if he was the officer he ran from. When the deputy said yes, McIntyre reportedly bragged that he “ran off and left” the police vehicle and noted that he probably wouldn’t have been caught if he hadn’t wrecked the car.

A subsequent search of the crash scene led to the discovery of a black Ruger .357-caliber weapon on the ground next to the Acura’s passenger’s side.

The charge of endangering others is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years. The gun charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

First Death Due to COVID-19 in Sequoyah County

The Oklahoma Department of Health (OSDH) has confirmed that as of Saturday morning Sequoyah County has two confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of which has resulted in the county's first death related to the virus.

Steve Rutherford, Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director, stated that earlier this week there was an ambulance call for a female individual on the eastern side of Sequoyah County. The female did test positive for COVID-19 and subsequently passed away. Rutherford added that he did believe that the female had underlying health conditions. The patient was in her 70's.

The patient's name is not being released due to privacy practices. 

"I do know that all of the medics and fire fighters that responded to the call are in self-quarantine and are doing fine," Rutherford added.

KXMX News Staff

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Hospital Receives Potentially Life-saving Donation

As cases of the COVID-19 virus spread across the nation critical medical supplies are becoming harder to come by for health care workers, medical facilities and hospitals. On Friday an unexpected donation to Northeastern Health System-Sequoyah alleviated the stress of obtaining at least one of the much needed supplies for the near future.

Pernod Ricard USA, a manufacturing plant and distillery in Ft. Smith, Ark. donated a 55 gallon drum of hand sanitizer to the local hospital as part of its effort to help during the coronavirus crisis.

Stephanie Six, hospital administrator, said that she saw online that the plant was re-tooling part of their production to make hand sanitizer to help with the national shortage and attempted to contact them about placing an order. "Hand sanitizer is very hard to get right now. There's a national shortage and most places are on back order," said Six.

"I reached out and left a voice message on Monday, asking to purchase hand sanitizer. To my surprise on Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call saying that they were preparing to do a mass shipment to New York and would be donating a 55 gallon drum to us," Six stated.

On Friday afternoon the truck arrived with the welcome donation. 

"This is amazing and we are forever thankful and appreciative of this gesture of kindness that is shown to our staff to keep the workers on the front line safe for themselves, our patients and their families!" added Six.

The facility began producing the sanitizer on March 21 and reportedly made 1,000 gallons their first day of production. Officials with the company have stated they will continue producing it as long as the need exists.

In a March 18 statement Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pernod Ricard, said, “As the world is facing a major pandemic, companies must mobilise, not only to ensure the safety of their employees, but also to contribute to collective efforts in accordance with their capabilities. By sharing our resources and making our production facilities available wherever they are needed, we are supporting our fellow citizens and local authorities. I would like to thank our employees who have worked hard to make everything possible in record time, all over the world.”

KXMX News Staff 

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Charge Added to Gore Assault Suspect’s Record

A Gore man charged March 3 with assault and battery recently had another felony charge added to his record, a police report reveals.

In addition to a charge of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, Tyler Wilson Hediger, 31, was charged March 18 with bringing contraband into a jail facility. 

The police report indicates that a Sequoyah County detention officer asked Hediger if he had anything illegal on him before he was booked in to the jail on the earlier charge. Hediger said he was clean, but a search of his pants pocket revealed a hard, green substance. Hediger told the officer it was “just hash,” but a field test indicated the presence of THC. The suspected drugs were sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for further testing.

The contraband charge is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for up to five years and/or a fine of up to $1,000. He faces up to 10 years in the penitentiary on the assault and battery charge.

The assault and battery charge stems from a violent altercation March 3 between another man and Hediger that left the other man injured.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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April Elections Delayed Until June

The three elections scheduled for April 7 have been postponed, Cindy Osborn, Sequoyah County Election Board secretary, said Thursday.

Osborn said the delay affects voting in three area towns, Vian, Belfonte and Braggs. She said the election will now be held during the June primaries.

“We’re fortunate” the change only affected those three races, Osborn said.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Landfill to Close on Saturdays

Effective immediately, the City of Sallisaw Landfill will be closed on Saturdays because of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. 

Weekday hours will remain 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

City officials stated, "For the protection of our employees, we will be restructuring the staffing levels at the landfill in order to limit their exposure. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 reports and re-evaluate the landfill hours as we work through the pandemic. We must continue our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19!"

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Stilwell Man Dies in Crash

A single-vehicle crash in Adair County left a Stilwell man dead March 24.

Daniel Teehee, 41, died at the scene of the crash, which happened at 4:47 p.m. on U.S. Highway 59 and County Road 785, about 2.4 miles north of Stilwell.

An accident report indicates that Teehee was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado pickup northbound on U.S. 59 at high speed when the truck failed to negotiate a curve, leaving the road to the right. Teehee then reportedly overcorrected, lost control and left the roadway to the left and rolling 1 ½ times. Teehee was extricated from the wreckage by the Stilwell Fire Department using the Hurst tool.

The report shows that officers at the scene detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Teehee.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Non-essential Businesses to Close Temporarily at Midnight Countywide Due to COVID-19

The Oklahoma State Department of Health confirmed Thursday that a Sallisaw resident has tested positive for the virus, the first such case in Sequoyah County. The patient is in quarantine at their residence.

In a statement issued Thursday, the City of Sallisaw announced that all non-essential businesses in the city must be closed effective at 11:59 p.m. today. Guidance on determining whether a business is considered essential or non-essential, may be found at www.sallisawok.org under the “COVID-19 Resources” tab.

City Manager Keith Skelton said, “We cannot emphasize enough the fact that every citizen has a personal responsibility, to themselves, their family, and our community, to do their part to help slow the spread of this terrible disease. Sallisaw is a community comprised of hard-working, unwavering individuals who share a genuine love and concern for their neighbor. Together, we will work through the effects of this pandemic. There is no doubt we will come out stronger on the other side, with an even bigger love for our community.” 

The ever-increasing number of cases prompted Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday to order all non-essential business in counties affected by COVID-19 to close until April 14. Stitt said that as COVID-19 cases spread to other counties around the state, those counties will then be included in the order. With Sequoyah County now having a confirmed case, this order will go into effect for the entire county at midnight on Thursday.

Non-essential businesses are considered places with a “social gathering” aspect, such as bars, gyms and massage parlors.

Stitt said restaurants are being asked to remain open by offering takeout and delivery options, but not dine-in areas.

At the same time, Stitt issued a “safer-at-home” order asking all vulnerable populations across the state to stay at home and only go out in public for the essentials until April 30. This includes adults over age 65 and vulnerable individuals with serious underlying medical conditions.

Stitt also issued a 14-day suspension of all elective surgeries, minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures to protect the state’s supply of personal protective equipment for medical workers. Visitation is also being suspended at all long-term care facilities until further notice.

State officials urge Oklahomans to stay away from sick patients and to frequently wash their hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and practice social distancing.

The virus is mainly spread from person to person, and symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure. The most common symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath.

If you do become sick, you are asked to stay away from others. If you have been in an area where the coronavirus is known to be spreading or been around a COVID-19 patient and develop symptoms, you are asked to call your doctor ahead of time and warn them that you might have been exposed to the virus. That way, experts say, they have the ability to take extra precautions to protect staff and other patients.

As of Thursday morning, there have been 248 positive test results in the state, including the first for LeFlore County. 

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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