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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Stay off playground equipment

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Liquor stores deemed essential business

Liquor stores in Oklahoma are exempt from the governor's closure order, a state regulatory agency said Wednesday. Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday ordered the closure of nonessential businesses in counties with COVID-19 cases through April 15.

"Based on ... the federal guidelines the governor references for purposes of distinguishing essential and nonessential, I think liquor stores would fall under the essential category under food and agriculture," said Steven Barker, general counsel at the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission.

He stressed that liquor stores in locations under municipal closure orders should check with their local officials. "Your municipality may go further and deem you nonessential," he warned.

The ABLE Commission on Tuesday authorized liquor stores to make home deliveries until April 17. Stores must use their own employees to make the deliveries.

Legislator tests positive for COVID-19

Another state legislator has tested positive for COVID-19. Rep. Jason Lowe announced Wednesday that he tested positive for the virus this week.

Several days ago, Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, reportedly began experiencing symptoms of a fever, chills, body aches and exhaustion. Lowe contacted his primary care doctor and quarantined himself at home. No longer experiencing symptoms of the virus, Lowe remains in self-isolation so as not to transmit it.

In a news release, Lowe thanked friends and constituents for their support and prayers. He encouraged Oklahomans to stay home and send positive thoughts and prayers to the state's health care professionals.

"I am extremely grateful for the care that I received, and I have a new appreciation for what thousands of Oklahoma health care workers are dealing with right now," he said.

State Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, also is recovering at home after testing positive for COVID-19. Several legislative staffers also have tested positive for the virus. They have not been publicly identified.

County complex requiring temperatures

Beginning Thursday morning, visitors to the Cleveland County Courthouse complex will have their temperatures taken before being allowed to enter the building. Anyone with a fever will not be allowed inside.

"We will continue to limit public access to the buildings for the foreseeable future," George Mauldin, Cleveland County's director of safety and emergency management, told workers in an email Wednesday. "We will also continue with increased disinfection of the common areas.

Employees will also be checked for fever prior to entering the building each morning. Employees with a fever will not be allowed in.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday reported 27 positive COVID-19 cases in Cleveland County.

Edmond council issues declaration

The Edmond City Council on Wednesday adopted an amended Declaration of Emergency related to the community spread of COVID-19.

The council's action institutes new community measures to help combat the spread of the virus. The changes are the result of new restrictions placed upon counties with positive cases of COVID-19 by Gov. Kevin Stitt in his "Safer at Home" Executive Order.

Adults older than 65 and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are now instructed to stay in their residence except for working in a critical infrastructure sector or to conduct essential errands, such as obtaining medication, groceries, gasoline and visiting medical providers.

The declaration also calls for Edmond residents and medical providers to postpone all elective surgeries, minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures until April 7.

Social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

All businesses not identified as being within a critical infrastructure sector shall close to the public until April 16. However, restaurants and bars may still provide pick-up, curbside and delivery services.

Visitors are prohibited from entering and visiting patients and residents at nursing homes, long-term care facilities and retirement homes, a news release stated.

For more information and updates, go to edmondok.com/coronavirus.

Stay off playground equipment

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt is encouraging residents to get outside but maintain a safe distance from others. Children, however, ought to stay off playground equipment due to concerns the coronavirus can remain on hard surfaces for an undetermined amount of time.

While walking in parks is encouraged over the next three weeks, all playground equipment (even at schools) in Oklahoma City is closed through April 16. Public health officials recently shared evidence the virus can survive for a time on hard surfaces.

The Parks Department will be posting notices at playgrounds in the coming days. Scissortail Park closed its playground last week.

How to get help

Being isolated can be very difficult, but help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline operates a hot line at 800-273-8255, and help is also available by chat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The website also contains prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Staff reports

Related Photos
Empty playground equipment is pictured at Hafer Park is pictured in Edmond, Okla., Tuesday, March 17, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Empty playground equipment is pictured at Hafer Park is pictured in Edmond, Okla., Tuesday, March 17, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eafc8b2583a8533b774f8b55b4aab16a.jpg" alt="Photo - Empty playground equipment is pictured at Hafer Park is pictured in Edmond, Okla., Tuesday, March 17, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Empty playground equipment is pictured at Hafer Park is pictured in Edmond, Okla., Tuesday, March 17, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Empty playground equipment is pictured at Hafer Park is pictured in Edmond, Okla., Tuesday, March 17, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
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