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Oklahoma sorority house under quarantine after 23 members test positive for COVID-19

It doubles the number of Oklahoma State University students confirmed with the coronavirus, and fall classes are set to start Monday.

STILLWATER, Okla. — Twenty-three members of a sorority house at Oklahoma State University have tested positive for COVID-19, the school said this weekend.

OSU spokeswoman Monica Roberts told The Oklahoman that as of Saturday, only one Pi Beta Phi member had symptoms.

A third-party contractor will disinfect the building and will do so again after the two-week quarantine period.

“This was expected,” Roberts said. “When you bring back 20,000 students, there will invariably be more cases related to campus. We’ve prepared for this for five months and have protocols in place to manage the situation.”

This doubles the number of OSU students who were confirmed to have COVID-19. The university conducted mandatory COVID-19 tests on all students before they moved into their residence halls and found 22 had the virus.

Fall semester classes are scheduled to begin Monday at the university.

Meanwhile, the reported number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma increased by 544 Sunday with four more deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

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There are 48,342 confirmed cases and 661 deaths, up from 47,798 cases and 657 deaths Saturday, the department said. The true number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The department reported 7,457 active cases and that 40,224 people have recovered.

Credit: AP
Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Sciences stands Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, Tulsa, Okla. Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, attended a meeting with Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt,T ulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and other state and local officials at the site Sunday. Members of the media were not permitted to attend the meeting. (John Clanton/Tulsa World via AP)

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

The state Department of Emergency Management has begun sending personal protective equipment for schools statewide as classes begin, some in-person and some by distance learning.

Items including masks, gloves, gowns and face shields were sent to distribution sites in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties Friday for schools in those regions, the department said, and deliveries to other regional sites will begin Monday.