COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Sen. Jim Inhofe

In separate statements over the weekend, Oklahoma's two Republican senators slammed the Saturday Senate passage of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief bill. 

Tulsa Airport

Next week is spring break, and Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart has some advice for families who may be considering getting out of town.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Oklahoma hits another pandemic milestone Saturday: 1 year since the state's first case of COVID-19 was publicly announced.

On March 6, 2020, Gov. Kevin Stitt joined then-State Health Commissioner Gary Cox, Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart and Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum to announce a man in his 50s who had recently traveled to Italy was the first Oklahoman with a confirmed case of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Oklahoma State Department of Health

State health officials shared more good news Friday on the COVID-19 vaccination front.

"Now that there are three vaccines available and our overall supply is steadily increasing, we are ready to open up vaccine appointments for the remaining priority groups outlined in phase two of our state’s vaccination plan," Deputy State Health Commissioner Keith Reed said during a virtual media.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 917 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 427,558.

Tulsa County had 102 of Friday's cases. Its total now stands at 71,329, second to Oklahoma County's 81,462.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, rose from 641 to 648. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. It has remained under 1,000 since Feb. 19.

Tulsa County's seven-day average fell from 92 to 87, its lowest point since June 18. The record is 647, set Jan. 9.

Roland Leach / U.S. Air Force

Oklahoma is now a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and hospitalizations and new cases keep falling, but health officials are urging people not to get complacent.

Improving trends are not going to change current public health advice on masks.

Healthier Oklahoma Coalition

Health care and public health experts predict the disease caused by the novel coronavirus may end up being a cause of death for Oklahomans long after whatever marks the official end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's a lot of people who didn't die who have a lot of chronic health conditions that are going to be going on forever," said Dr. David Chansolme, medical director of infection prevention at INTEGRIS Health, at a Tuesday virtual press briefing held by the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition. 

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

As a few Catholic leaders across the country express hesitation or outright disavow the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the head of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said Thursday that the church encourages Oklahoma Catholics to get any of the currently approved vaccines as soon as they can.

World Health Organization

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 895 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 426,641.

Tulsa County had 122 of Thursday's cases. Its total now stands at 71,227, second to Oklahoma County's 81,276.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 677 to 641. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13.

Tulsa County's seven-day average fell from 117 to 92. It's the first time the average has been below 100 since Oct. 29. The record is 647, set Jan. 9.

File Photo

Oklahoma House Republicans passed a bill on Wednesday to prohibit any government entity from closing churches during an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Bill 2648 would deem such orders a "substantial burden" on religion, an attempt to render them unconstitutional. Courts have tied the term to forcing someone to violate their religious beliefs. The bill says that finding would apply even if an order applies to non-religious establishments. 

Broken Arrow City Council

At a meeting repeatedly disrupted by anti-mask hecklers, the Broken Arrow City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday evening to adopt a non-binding resolution simply encouraging residents to wear masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor Craig Thurmond, long opposed to a mandatory mask ordinance as well as to a similar non-binding resolution brought previously, cast the tie-breaking vote to pass the measure.

NIAID-RML

Updated March 4, 11:42 a.m.  

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 747 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 425,746.

Tulsa County had 99 of Wednesday's cases. Its total now stands at 71,105, second to Oklahoma County's 81,082.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 684 to 677, its lowest since late August. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13.

Chickasaw Nation

The Chickasaw Nation has begun offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments to educators and their families, regardless of tribal citizenship.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Public Schools is partnering with a nonprofit to keep track of results from its rapid COVID-19 testing program and report them to participating students and staff.

The TPS Board approved an agreement with the nonprofit Project Beacon for a platform that can send results to district employees or students participating in the voluntary testing program. Its BinaxNOW system could not do that.

Public health experts say Oklahoma's COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction -- but mitigation measures are more critical than ever.

"There's going to be a temptation to relax our mitigation strategies, maybe not mask as much," said Dr. Aaron Wendelboe, University of Oklahoma professor and former Oklahoma state epidemiologist, during a virtual press briefing held by the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition on Tuesday.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 111 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 424,999.

Tulsa County had seven of Tuesday's cases. Its total now stands at 71,006, second to Oklahoma County's 80,870.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 719 to 684. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13.

Tulsa County's seven-day average dropped from 123 to 117. The record is 647, set Jan. 9. Oct. 29 was the last time the seven-day average was below 100.

City of Tulsa

Tulsa marked one year since COVID-19 made its first appearance in the community on Monday.

On March 1, 2020, Tulsa’s first COVID patient checked in to a St. Francis urgent care clinic. Oklahoma’s first confirmed case was reported five days later: a Tulsa County man who had recently traveled to Italy.

How many Oklahomans have died from COVID-19?

As of Monday, the state said nearly 4,500, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said almost 7,000. State Epidemiologist Dr. Jared Taylor said the CDC's tally is probably close to the real total.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Monday 380 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 424,888.

Tulsa County had 50 of Monday's cases. Its total now stands at 70,999, second to Oklahoma County's 80,858.

The state added 35,036 cases of COVID-19 to its total in February, down 64% from January's record. Testing in February, however, was down 45% from January.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 736 to 719. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The University of Tulsa says it believes in-person classes and activities will be more the norm by this year's fall semester.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill early Saturday in a win for President Joe Biden, even as top Democrats tried assuring agitated progressives that they’d revive their derailed drive to boost the minimum wage.

Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Service

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than 1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Oklahoma, state health officials announced on Friday.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 867 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 423,023.

Tulsa County had 135 of Friday's cases. Its total now stands at 70,719, second to Oklahoma County's 80,429.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, remained at 811. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13.

Tulsa County's seven-day average dropped from 181 to 160. The record is 647, set Jan. 9. Oct. 29 was the last time the seven-day average was below 100.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation

Many Oklahoma health care facilities run by either or both the Indian Health Service and individual tribes have begun greatly expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, including for non-Native household members and caregivers of tribal citizens. 

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Oklahoma now has greater capability to perform genomic sequencing on COVID-19 samples, making detection of any mutations or variants easier to do in-house -- but the state epidemiologist said Thursday the upgrade's usefulness is dependent on whether Oklahomans continue to proactively seek out testing.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

More than half of Oklahomans ages 65 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state health department.

Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said at a virtual press briefing on Thursday that 53% of that age group had received at least one shot.

More than a quarter million Oklahomans in total have received the full series, Reed said.

Between the state, tribes, Indian Health Service and the federal Veterans Administration, more than 935,000 doses have been given in Oklahoma, Reed said.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 1,146 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 422,156.

Tulsa County had 295 of Thursday's cases. Its total now stands at 70,584, second to Oklahoma County's 80,275.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, rose for the first time after 20 straight days of declines, going from 736 to 811. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13.

Oklahoma City-County Health Department

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Armando Rubio, a Spanish-language broadcaster in Oklahoma, died from COVID-19 complications at 73. 

Rubio hosted a TV show about Latino issues and worked as Telemundo T30′s station manager. He died on Feb. 18, The Oklahoman reported Wednesday. 

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Experts, elected officials and community leaders came together at the Oklahoma Capitol on Wednesday to express concern over the disparity in rates of COVID-19 vaccine administration between Black and white Oklahomans.

"Today, I am calling on the talented public health leaders across this state to increase their outreach efforts to reassure people of color that the vaccine is safe and effective at mitigating the community spread of COVID-19," said Rep. Jason Lowe (D-OKC), who coordinated the press conference.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 798 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 421,010.

Tulsa County had 105 of Wednesday's cases. Its total now stands at 70,289, second to Oklahoma County's 80,140.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 776 to 736, its lowest point since the end of August. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13.

Tulsa County's seven-day average fell from 186 to 168. The record is 647, set Jan. 9. Oct. 29 was the last time the seven-day average was below 100.

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