COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa Fire Chief Michael Baker said at a Wednesday press conference that 17 members of the Tulsa Fire Department have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We are not immune to the effects of this increase in cases in the city," Baker said. "We're a very high-contact population of workers."

Baker said the 17 firefighters who tested positive are under quarantine, as are an additional 51 who were potentially exposed to the virus. None have so far required hospitalization and many are asymptomatic, he said.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 603 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 18,496.

It was the state's third-highest number of new cases, following its biggest increase so far on Tuesday and its second-biggest jump yesterday.

Tulsa County had 122 of the new cases, increasing its total to 4,693.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, a measure of the trend in new infections, hit another high Thursday at 565. Tulsa County's declined slightly, from 147 to 145.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With COVID-19 infection rates soaring both in Tulsa County and statewide, Mayor G.T. Bynum struck a familiar note at a Wednesday press conference, exhorting Tulsans to wear masks while also maintaining that he does not believe a policy requiring them is currently necessary.

"The reason we haven't done it yet to date is because we have not been told that there is just no other option and we have to do it," Bynum said.

Bynum has previously said he would implement such a policy if advised to do so by Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department.

NIAID-RML

Updated July 9, 12:05 p.m. after an update to Tulsa County deaths. 

Updated July 8, 6:12 p.m. with latest hospitalization numbers. 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 673 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 17,893.

Tulsa County had 206 of the new cases, pushing its total to 4,571.

The Norman City Council on Tuesday voted to approve a mandatory mask ordinance.

The measure passed 8-1 at the virtual meeting, and applies to public places including stores, retail establishments, houses of worship, among others.

"By God, if Texas can do it, then we can do it too," Mayor Breea Clark said before the motion passed. "Our residents are worth it."

"The lives of Norman residents are worth fighting for," Clark tweeted late Tuesday evening.

Twitter / @OESCnews

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission will host a two-day claims processing event in Tulsa.

The unemployment agency will be at Expo Square in Tulsa on July 15th and 16th. OESC has previously held six days of similar events in the Oklahoma City area.

OESC says agents will be on hand to assist claimants with a wide range of issues, including fraudulent claims and federal pandemic assistance payments.

Individuals seeking assistance are encouraged to start lining up at 6:00 a.m. each day. OESC estimates it will be able to assist up to 400 people each day.

Office of the Governor of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has added Oklahoma to a list of states with "increasing community spread" of COVID-19, and will require visitors arriving from Oklahoma to quarantine for 14 days.

In a Tuesday press release, Cuomo announced that Oklahoma, Delaware and Kansas join 16 other states that meet New York's metric for the travel advisory.

The Gilcrease Museum's tentative plans to reopen to the public by the end of July are up in the air given the worsening COVID-19 outbreak at the state and local levels.

"When we got approval for this, and moving forward, it wasn't evident that we were going to continue to see these spikes," said Susan Neal, the museum's executive director, on a virtual meeting of its board of trustees on Tuesday.

"Our community situation continues to evolve, and I wonder what it will be like come July 29th, when we would be scheduled to open to the public," Neal said.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 858 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 17,220.

Tuesday's number of new cases smashed Oklahoma's previous one-day record of 585, set one week ago. Over the past seven days, Oklahoma has seen an average of almost 495 new cases a day, an all-time high.

Tulsa County had 261 of the new cases, topping its previous record of 259 set on June 23, and now has 4,365 in all. Over the past seven days, Tulsa County has seen an average of 134 new cases a day.

Mullin Plumbing

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Family businesses of two Oklahoma congressmen received at least $1.8 million from a federal rescue program meant to keep small businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Google Street View

Tulsa County District Court announced Monday that it will resume issuing summonses for jury duty, and that it will do its best to reduce jurors' risk of exposure to COVID-19.

In a press release, the court said that jury duty remains "a legal obligation as well as a civic duty."

"Local and county officials are taking all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for those that visit the Tulsa County Courthouse," the statement reads. "However, no one can guarantee an environment without any risk of exposure."

Tulsa Public Schools

Tulsa Public Schools is developing a virtual academy for students who are immunocompromised or whose parents don’t feel comfortable having them go back to a classroom in the fall.

Students enrolling in TPS Virtual Academy will continue to be considered attending their current, physical school. The district has made a preliminary decision not to allow students to jump back and forth between virtual and in-person schools at will.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

With results certified and some time to reflect, Tulsa County’s top election official said Monday the first contest during the pandemic went fairly well.

Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman said some of the lessons learned may be useful for a local election in August and the November general if the coronavirus is still circulating as many health experts predict.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Dr. Jennifer Clark, a Visiting Associate Professor of Community Health at TU's Oxley College of Health Sciences; she teaches in TU's Health Care Delivery Science Program. Dr. Clark is also a contributor/commentator for the ongoing, thrice-weekly Project ECHO updates regarding COVID-19. These online, open-to-the-public updates, originating from Oklahoma State University and freely streamable, are medically-driven information sessions presented by a multi-institutional array of doctors and scientists.

Department of Defense

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 434 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, which pushed the state's seven-day average of new infections to a high of nearly 466.

One month ago, the state's seven-day average of new cases was less than 92.

Oklahoma now has 16,362 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Tulsa County had 69 of the cases reported Monday, bringing its state-leading total to 4,104.

Four deaths that happened between Friday and Sunday were also reported on Monday, two of them Tulsa County men age 65 or older. COVID-19 has now killed 399 Oklahomans.

The annual celebration of the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution will be a virtual one this year.

The tribe will stream online important events of the 68th annual Cherokee National Holiday, like Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s state of the nation address. Hoskin said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is behind the move.

Mother Road Market

A worker at Mother Road Market has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the food hall to close its doors over the weekend.

According to an online statement, it’s not clear whether the employee was exposed at work, but others they may have come into contact with have been notified, and tests are being arranged for any employee who wants to take one.

The market was closed Sunday and is being deep cleaned out of an abundance of caution.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma on Sunday reported an additional 283 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said that the additional cases bring the state’s total to 15,928. The actual number of cases is believed to be far higher, but many people haven’t been tested and some who get the disease don’t show symptoms.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

Speaking at the Capitol shortly after Oklahoma reported its largest ever single-day jump in COVID-19 infections, Gov. Kevin Stitt committed to not implementing -- or even considering -- a mandatory masking policy, even if the coronavirus pandemic continues its upward trend in the state.

"I will not consider or reconsider mandating masks. We believe in freedoms," said Stitt, who briefly donned a face covering at the press conference. 

Governor Stitt Facebook page

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s key cabinet members at the forefront of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic announced Monday they are stepping down to return to their full-time jobs.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma reported 299 more cases of the coronavirus on Saturday and seven additional deaths.

The Oklahoma Department of Health said there have been at least 12,642 confirmed cases and 384 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The actual number of people who have been infected is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can carry the virus and not feel sick.

Twitter / @realdonaldtrump

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A journalist who attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last week said Friday he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Oklahoma Watch reporter Paul Monies said he was notified Friday of his positive diagnosis.

Instagram / @OKStateFair

Two major annual Oklahoma events announced on Friday they will be canceling this year due to concerns over the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

 

"Due to the evolving COVID-19 health crisis, its impact on community health and well-being, the 2020 Oklahoma State Fair has been canceled," the fair announced in a statement.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — At least 395 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 and two more people have died in Oklahoma as the cornavirus continues to surge, according to the state’s official count updated Friday. 

Andy Watson, photo courtesy of Bull Stock Media

Following President Trump's reelection rally, an event widely criticized due to public health concerns amid surging COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, the operators of the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa said Thursday they are considering bringing another large event to the arena: a Professional Bull Riders competition in early August.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The president of the state medical association on Thursday called for Oklahoma to require that face masks be worn at businesses and in public places, as the state health department reported 438 new coronavirus cases and three additional deaths.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said at least 11,948 residents have been infected and 375 of them have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. 

Twitter / @UofOklahoma

In an email to the University of Oklahoma community, the university's Chief COVID Officer, Dr. Dale Bratzler of OU Medicine, announced a mandatory mask-wearing policy for all OU facilities across all of the school's campuses.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Before Wednesday, Tulsa County had never reported an increase of more than 200 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a single day. 

Now, it's passed that mark two days in a row.

Tulsa County reported a confirmed total number of cases of 2,949 on Thursday, a day-over-day increase of 207 patients, making up just under half of the statewide increase of 438.

Facebook / Tulsa Fire Department

A Tulsa fire station was briefly closed this week for cleaning and many of its firefighters placed under quarantine after a member of the Tulsa Fire Department assigned to that station exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.

TFD Chief Michael Baker told reporters at a Wednesday press conference that Fire Station 24 at 3600 N. Peoria was shut down for cleaning and disinfecting overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday, but had since reopened.

Twitter / @TulsaPolice

With local officials repeatedly stressing the message that mask-wearing is crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19 -- and even considering making it mandatory and enforceable by law -- the head of the Tulsa Police Department says officers don't always wear masks because covering their faces can interfere with their jobs.

"The reason why you don't always see our officers wearing masks is because they need to have that facial expression," Chief Wendell Franklin told reporters at a Wednesday press conference at police headquarters.

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