Courthouse closed after COVID-19 numbers rise

By Jeff Shultz

Managing Editor

The number of COVID-19 cases in Garvin County grew to seven on Wednesday, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health, making Garvin County the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the health department’s Southern Division District 8.

“We may see more positive tests before this is over,” said Garvin County Emergency Management Director David Johnson.

Johnson told the Garvin County Commissioners, during their regular meeting Monday, as more tests are administered, the county should expect more positive tests.

The news Wednesday prompted Johnson and the county commissioners to close down the Garvin County Courthouse.

“Right now the only office that will be open will be the Sheriff’s Office,” Johnson told the News Star.

Garvin County has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the health department’s Southern Division District 8.

According to the health department, Pontotoc has five confirmed cases and Carter and Love Counties with one case each. Stephens County has six confirmed cases.

Mendy Spohn, Regional Administrative Director for District 8, confirmed Johnson’s report that the Southern region could see more confirmed cases once widespread testing is available.

“While we use laboratory-confirmed cases for official reporting, widespread testing is not available at this time. Meaning, not all people sick with COVID-19 are known to the health department,” Spohn said.

Footloose Cancelled; Okie Noodling, Peach Festival still on

The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced organizers of Elmore City’s Footloose Festival to cancel this year’s celebration.

“We met on March 23 and the chamber discussed possibly having the festival in October,” said Lu Ann Milligan, chairman of the Footloose Festival committee.

“However, no one was sure this outbreak would be over by then, so we decided it would be better to just cancel this year’s festival and start making plans for next year,” she said.

Another festival that is in danger of being cancelled is the Stratford Peach Festival.

“At this time the festival is still on as planned,” said the festival’s chairperson, Chelli Schwagel.

“We will be monitoring the COVID-19 virus situation over the next couple of months,” she added.

Pauls Valley City Manager James Frizell said the annual Okie Noodling Tournament is still on for this year, but he and other organizers of the event are following COVID-19 developments closely.

“We haven’t made a solid decision yet, but we’ll need to make a decision by May. That will give us time to cancel bands and let vendors know we have cancelled,” he told the News Star.

Maysville Passes 

New Ordinance

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the Maysville Town Board to pass an ordinance dealing with the town’s response to the outbreak.

The ordinance was passed during the town board’s emergency meeting on Thursday, March 26.

Under the new ordinance, all Maysville residents should practice “appropriate social distancing and self-quarantining.”

Citizens shall stay at home, with the exception of essential trips from their homes for groceries or medical care.

The new ordinance also prohibits citizens from being present in social groups of 10 or more people.

Other provisions of the ordinance prohibit Maysville residents from eating at restaurants that do not offer curbside or delivery service, and it calls for residents to avoid traveling outside the Maysville city limits.