The State Health Department said they hope to know by Thursday if two Oklahomans have tested positive for novel coronavirus.  

Health officials said the two individuals do not know each other and are being isolated in their homes. They have not been hospitalized.

The two people recently traveled to Wuhan, China, according to health officials. Once back in Oklahoma, they started showing symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

“If they meet the criteria to go ahead and initiate the specimen collection and testing, then we are not going to wait,” Oklahoma State Epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed explained. “We are going to start the preliminary part of the investigation which is to interview and gather an extensive history of exactly where they have been during the time of concern.”

The health department said those who have had close personal contact with the individuals have been notified. They are also being monitored.

Burnsed said they are not concerned about anyone who was around the individuals before they started seeing symptoms or who did not have prolonged contact with them.

“With something like novel coronavirus, what we’re seeing here is it is limited to closer contacts, more extensive amounts of time in person with the individuals just walking through a general public place would not put a person at a higher risk,” Burnsed said. 

Although this is a serious epidemic in China, the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Gary Cox said the risk is low for most Oklahomans, but they are moving to form a multi-agency coordination and planning team.

“This is planning and thinking through scenarios should we have an outbreak here in Oklahoma,” Cox said.  

OSDH said they also have an epidemiologist on call 24/7 fielding calls from healthcare providers.