Local pandemic task force officials are urging the community take COVID-19 seriously after a prominent retired physician died due to the virus.
"I'd like to extend my condolences to Dr. Don Stucky, who is a close family friend of mine and physician to many of you, and a friend of many of us here in the city of Tahlequah," said Ward 4 City Councilor Trae Ratliff, who chairs the task force. "I think this is probably going to be the one thing that is going hit home to a lot of folks who didn't necessarily feel the impact before."
Stucky was one of the first doctors to talk to the Daily Press about the deadly nature of the coronavirus. He did so, he said, because doctors still practicing could face harassment.
Ratliff also informed the public that mailouts will be sent to housing associations and residents to encourage the safe celebration of Halloween.
Ward 1 Tahlequah City Councilor Bree Long said the Crisis Task Force Team continues to meet the first and third Monday of each month.
"From the health perspective, both hospitals continued to test, with Cherokee Nation having tested over 33,000 and Northeastern Health System testing well over 4,700," Long said.
Long stressed that both health systems have the resources and capacity that is needed right now.
"Both hospital systems continue to advocate for the flu shot this season. NHS and Cherokee Nation continue to offer flu shots at their clinics and primary care locations," Long said. "Tahlequah Public Schools will also be offering flu shot options through their caring van, which is scheduled to visit each school site."
NHS' campaign, "Your health is essential," encourages community members to consult with their primary care physicians immediately if they feel ill.
"They want to ensure manageable health conditions are taken care of in a timely manner to avoid preventable hospitalizations," Long said.
As of Wednesday, Oct. 21, the state had 14,666 active COVID-19 cases, with Cherokee County reporting 176 of those cases. The county has had a total of 1,324 confirmed cases, with eight deaths.
As of Oct. 21, Cherokee Nation Health Services reported 2,940 confirmed cases of COVID-19.