Covid-19 News Update March 24
In a livestreamed press conference the afternoon of March 24, Gov. Kevin Stitt noted there were 109 positive cases of Covid-19 in the state and counties with active cases would be effectively shutdown to only essential businesses.
A Cleveland County woman in her 60s succumbed to the disease Tuesday, bringing the state death toll to three.
The counties with cases include Canadian, Cleveland, Custer, Garvin, Grady, Jackson, Kay, Logan, Mays, McClain, Muskogee, Nobel, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washington. Essential businesses as outlined by Homeland Security include supermarkets, big box stores, pharmacies, convenience or discount stores, garbage collection services, healthcare, daycare, hardware stores, gas stations or auto repair shops, banks, post offices or shipping businesses, veterinarians and pet food stores, farmers markets and food banks, providers to shelters and the homeless, educational personnel in support of distance learning, agriculture and food processing, warehouses, storage and distribution and transportation as well as news media. Restaurants may not use dine in services, bars are closed, gyms, massage, hair and tattoo parlors would be closed for at least 21 days, according to the governor.
An amendment to an executive order from the governor’s office allowing private labs to test has increased the number of results coming in during the last day.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages residents to stay home, reduce person-to-person contact, wash hands often and resist touching one’s face. Symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing or a cough should be reported to health care providers or call the Covid-19 center at (877) 215-8336 for information and assistance. You may also log on to coronavirus.health.ok.gov
Locally the Blaine County Courthouse has closed to the public and the area banks are drive through only unless other arrangements are made.
Nationwide, there are more than 42,000 infected with the virus, and the death toll is at 515. Fifteen states have declared residents should remain home, or enacted rules that will take effect this week. The declarations will impact 137 million Americans.
Speaking to NBC March 23, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said, "I want America to understand -- this week, it's going to get bad. We really, really need everyone to stay at home. I think that there are a lot of people who are doing the right things, but we're finding out a lot of people think this can't happen to them."
The few exceptions to the stay at home rules are being outside for exercise as long as the individual is healthy and maintains his or her distance from others; grocery shopping and medical care; and work for essential services.
The Small Business Administration has already begun accepting applications for businesses impacted by the pandemic. That information and application can be found by going online to disasterloan.sba.gov.
The State of Oklahoma has deferred payment state income tax. Taxes must be filed, but payments are deferred until July. The same deferment is true for federal income tax and self-employment tax payments. Those deferrals are good until July 15.
Federal student loan payments been halted with no penalties and accruing interest and interest has been waived retroactively from March 13