Oklahoma sees 9 new coronavirus deaths; hospitalizations dip
April 24, 2020
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma reported nine more deaths linked to the coronavirus Thursday, a day before some businesses can begin reopening under the governor's plan to help the state start to recover from the pandemic.
At least 179 people have now died of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, according to the state's numbers, with eight of the additional deaths in the 65 or older age group and one who was 50-64. The number hospitalized was at 284, down from 298 reported Wednesday. At least 3,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the state.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday announced plans to begin reopening businesses in the state. Starting Friday, barbershops, hair and nail salons, pet groomers and spas can reopen in cities that do not have local restrictions. The personal care businesses must sanitize equipment, continue social distancing and employees and customers must wear masks if they are within six feet of each other.
Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman are among cities with extended orders that will keep those businesses closed for longer than the state.
Stitt said he's confident the businesses can reopen because the daily tallies of new positive cases and people hospitalized due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, are on the decline.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.