A state of emergency was declared Sunday in Ponca City and then on Monday in Newkirk after a Kay County resident was diagnosed with COVID-19 and potentially spread the disease within the county.
Newkirk issued a declaration signed by Mayor Brian Hobbs that the case could potentially spread within the county, “very near to Newkirk” and potential spread to the public.
The city also announced the temporary closure of several facilities, including parks and the country club (until April 6), and the senior citizen building, public library and city clerk’s office through this week.
“Public Work employees will only be responding to calls that are of emergency criteria,” a press release states. “If any city employee must enter a citizen home, they will be wearing a mask and gloves.”
The fire department is on lock down with only employees on shift present; no visitors or off duty personnel.
Fire an ambulance employees will also be wearing masks and gloves if they need to enter a home. Police will only respond to high criteria and emergency calls and also wear a mask and gloves.
The city’s limb pile and dumpster at the service center will also be closed until April 6.
The Kay County Health Department (KCHD) is working with the OSDH in investigation to identify contacts to the confirmed case and providing guidance for those individuals regarding testing and isolation requirements, according to a press release. The KCHD is communicating with healthcare providers, public health partners and emergency managers about the current situation.
Ponca City Mayor Homer Nicholson signed the declaration Sunday “to protect public health, ensure public safety, and render emergency relief.
The action includes directing the implementation of the City Emergency Operations Plan and invoking the Emergency Powers of the mayor, according to the city’s statement on Facebook.
“We feel it is better to be over prepared, rather than underprepared, for the safety and security of our citizens in order to minimize exposure,” Nicholson said. “City staff will continue to be in contact with appropriate agencies in light of this decision.”
The Ponca City statement outlines basic actions for citizens to protect themselves against the virus. City Manager Craig Stephenson also announced the Senior Center is closed. In addition and the city’s library programming and parks and recreation programming are temporarily suspended through March 27, including adult sports and fitness classes. However, the RecPlex and Library remained open under normal operating hours.