Drive-thru COVID tests offered daily

As confirmed cases rise, Canadian County Health Department promotes free service

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By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

As Oklahoma sees an uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases, Yukon-area residents are reminded the Canadian County Health Department offers free drive-thru testing.

As of June 18, Canadian County had 175 total cases with three deaths and 138 recoveries. Yukon has 98 of those cases, with one death and 81 recoveries.

Canadian County’s reported total had stood at 128 cases for several weeks as it appeared the curve had flattened.

Canadian County now ranks eighth among Oklahoma’s 77 counties in the number of positive cases.

“It’s really important that we perform these tests because the numbers have been ticking back up,” said Jan Fox, regional director of the Canadian County Health Department. “We’re not only seeing some increases in the number of cases, but the information coming out from the state health department shows the positivity rate is inching back up again.”

Testing is available daily by appointment at both Canadian County Health Department offices – 1023 E Vandament in Yukon and 100 S Rock Island in El Reno.

Drive-thru swab tests are provided and Canadian County residents who take advantage of the free service don’t even have to get out of their vehicles.

“We come out to your car and collect the test,” Fox said. “We do ask that everyone make an appointment.

“We have great capacity for testing, so the appointments help us manage the nurse’s time. We can test and want to test anyone who is asking for a test.”

CCHD clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

As of June 17, Oklahoma reported 8,904 positive COVID-19 cases with 364 deaths and 6,898 recoveries.

Oklahoma on Wednesday reported its largest single-day increase in cases, up from 259 the previous day.

The increase in confirmed cases is not unexpected after the statewide multi-phase reopening.

“People are out and about, and that just increases your opportunities to become infected,” Fox said. “It’s not necessarily surprising but we want to stay on top of it. We’re encouraging anyone who feels they need to be tested or wants to be tested to come in for a test.”

Cities with the most cases are: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Guymon, Bartlesville, and Lawton. Yukon ranks 12th among all Oklahoma municipalities, the data shows.

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VIRUS RISK STILL REAL

COVID-19 is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province China in 2019 and has since spread globally into a pandemic. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

While roughly 80% of cases report mild symptoms, some progress into severe pneumonia and multi-organ failure and can lead to death, according to state health department officials.

Current data indicates the risk of death for those contracting COVID-19 notably increases for people above age 60 and for those with autoimmune conditions.

“We want to remind everyone not to go out in public or go to work if you’re ill,” Fox said.

“Stay home when you can, use good hand-washing techniques and don’t touch your face. And it’s important you consider wearing a mask if you’re going to be in public.”

As Oklahoma and other states reopen businesses and venues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to warn of the serious risk of contagion in large gatherings.

Fox reiterated the ample availability of testing through both CCHD clinics.

“We’ve been given the information that the lab capacity across the state is back up to where we can do whatever number that we need to – as long as we have the staff to do it,” the department’s administrative director said. “We’re doing our best not to turn away anyone.

“We just want everyone to feel comfortable coming to the health department. We’re here to help everyone understand the disease, whether they’ve been exposed and have the disease, and help them make decisions about staying home, wearing their masks and other safety measures.”

For more information about the COVID-19 testing, call 354-4872 or 262-0042. More information may be found on the Canadian County Health Department page on the Oklahoma State Health Department website.