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Health Department Director: Tulsa Has Not Met Federal Guidelines to Reopen

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Tulsa’s top public health official said Wednesday that based on federal guidelines, the city is not ready to follow Gov. Kevin Stitt’s reopening plans beginning Friday.

Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said while COVID-19 hospitalizations here have declined, the number of new infections has not, even on a relaxed timeline.

"We’ve actually changed from a four-day rolling average to seven-day because that’s what the state is doing. We’re not seeing that decline in cases. Also, our syndromic surveillance is showing that we’re not seeing a decline in symptoms as well. So, at this juncture, from a clinical perspective, we’re not meeting that gate," Dart said.

Tulsa will go ahead with reopening. Dart said Tulsa will likely see a spike in new COVID-19 cases, so people should continue taking the same precautions they have for the past several weeks.

"Social distancing remains our best defense against COVID19 at this time. Stay at least 6 feet from others who do not reside in your home," Dart said.

The health department will continue its contact tracing efforts to locate and notify people who have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

People experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home until they are fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of medications, all symptoms have resolved and it has been at least seven days since they began.

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