An Oklahoma resident has died from the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, marking the first such death in the state, according to health officials in the city of Tulsa.
The Tulsa Health Department said in a news release that the patient was a man in his 50s who tested positive for the virus on March 17 before passing away “due to complications” the following day.
“The epidemiological investigation is ongoing,” said officials.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of Oklahoma’s first death from COVID-19. Sarah and I send our sincere condolences and ask Oklahomans to join us in praying for his family and loved ones,” Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a statement. “My highest priority is the safety and well-being of every Oklahoman and I will deploy every resource available to protect the health of all of our families, friends and neighbors.”
Statewide, Oklahoma has seen at least 29 cases of the novel virus — but there could be more, as testing capabilities are currently limited in Oklahoma, according to officials. The Sooner State isn’t alone. Limited testing has been a problem for states nationwide.
Echoing health professionals across America, in announcing the death Tulsa health officials reminded residents with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath “to stay home and limit person-to-person engagement.”
“Call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms. Emergency rooms should be utilized only for medical emergencies. Tulsa County residents are encouraged to implement social distancing and avoid large crowds and gatherings to slow the spread of the disease. Frequent handwashing and disinfecting of surfaces are imperative to limit the spread,” they added.
As of Thursday morning, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 222,643 people across 151 countries and territories, resulting in over 9,115 deaths. In the U.S., all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, tallying over 9,415 illnesses and at least 150 deaths.
Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.