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Officials Say Tulsa is Ready to Move to Phase 3 of Reopening

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Tulsa officials on Friday said the city and county are ready to follow the state into phase three of a reopening plan on Monday.

As of Friday, Tulsa County had 983 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, 158 active cases and 51 deaths. Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Doctor Bruce Dart said the county's case trend is almost flat and hospitalization rates are trending up but remain manageable.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he does not have the same concerns proceeding to phase three as he did going into phase one, however, because the main benchmark is hospital capacity.

"We're maintaining ample capacity within our hospitals for people who need treatment, and that's in our three major health care systems. That doesn't even include the 120 beds that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installed in OSU Medical Center that are solely for COVID patients," Bynum said.

Dart said there are enough testing supplies now that anyone who wants a test can get one. The health department is taking appointments at 918-582-9355.

The health department will also be offering free testing in north Tulsa at the 36th Street North Event Center during a June 5 event.

Bynum and Dart acknowledged there may be some pandemic fatigue and desire to return to normal as the state and Tulsa continue to reopen, but they asked residents to continue social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing masks in public.

Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith made a personal plea for people to put on face coverings.

"I have a 91-year-old mother, and I have a sister who is going through chemo and radiation. And I need you to wear your masks in public," Keith said.

Wearing a mask prevents the wearer from spreading the coronavirus by blocking their respiratory droplets. Many people infected with the coronavirus are asymptomatic carriers.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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