COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Ascension St. John

Ascension St. John is running Oklahoma’s first clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment.

They’ll be giving people the rheumatoid arthritis drug sarimulab intravenously to see whether it’s effective at reducing the lung inflammation the coronavirus triggers in some patients.

"That is the part of the disease that you really want to treat because that is the part that starts off the process of people getting very ill," said primary investigator Dr. Anuj Malik.

Tulsa Transit

Tulsa Transit is reducing fixed-route bus frequency starting today.

"Our ridership has decreased to a Saturday level of service, and many other transit systems have seen similar experiences with COVID-19 taking root. So, we are trying to size the system to reflect that," said Tulsa Transit General Manager Ted Rieck.

Buses will run every 60 minutes. Buses will also be limited to eight to 12 passengers at drivers’ discretion.

U.S. Navy

NEW YORK (AP) — Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s with chart-topping ballads and honky-tonk singles like “Home” and “Pickup Man,” has died after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 61.

Diffie on Friday announced he had contracted the coronavirus, becoming the first country star to go public with such a diagnosis. Diffie’s publicist Scott Adkins said the singer died Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee, due to complications from the virus.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Sunday joined other governors in requiring air travelers from New York and other coronavirus hot spots to quarantine when travelling to his state.

Travelers who fly from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Washington state and Louisiana must self-quarantine for 14 days if they head to Oklahoma, according to Stitt’s executive order. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and others have issued similar orders.

In a special episode we air an important conversation hosted by museum engagement company, Cuseum. More than 3,000 museum professionals around the globe tuned in to “How to Keep Your Audience Engaged, Entertained, and Inspired in the Age of Coronavirus.” Featuring Philbrook Director Scott Stulen and Seema Rao, Deputy Director and Chief Experience Officer at Akron Art Museum. Moderated by Cuseum’s Brendan Ciecko.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Seven new deaths from COVID-19 were reported Saturday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, bringing the state's total to 15.

Six deaths were in people 65 or older, with two each in Cleveland and Tulsa counties, and one in Oklahoma and Wagoner counties. A Sequoyah County woman between 50 and 64 years old also died.

Another 21 people have been hospitalized for the respiratory illness, bringing the total to 126, and Oklahoma had an additional 55 reported cases, bringing the state's total to 377.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The state’s top Native American gaming official rejected Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s latest casino gambling offer on Friday and accused the governor of trying to take advantage of the tribes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Matthew Morgan, the chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, described the governor’s latest offer as “yet another unsuccessful attempt to divide the tribes.”

Updated March 28, 1:05 p.m.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum issued a "shelter in place" order Saturday to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The City of Tulsa is referring to it as a "safer at home" order that follows one issued by Gov. Kevin Stitt earlier this week but applies to all Tulsans, not just those 65 and older or with a serious medical condition.

The order takes effect Saturday at 11:59 p.m. and will be in effect through April 16.

Laurie Avocado

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited from delivering during the new coronavirus pandemic, but they can offer curbside pickup with limited contact, state officials decided.

Dispensaries are considered “essential” businesses, which are exempt from Gov. Kevin Stitt’s order that directs some businesses in counties with confirmed cases of people with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

File Photo

Churches, think tanks and social service organizations are calling on Gov. Kevin Stitt to take actions that could prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state’s jails and prisons.

Joey Magana with Americans for Prosperity said the facilities are not safe for inmates or guards because they’re too full, house many people with medical conditions and not cleaned enough.

Any type of abortion not necessary to save a woman’s life or health must be delayed until April 7 in Oklahoma.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday they are included in his order to postpone some medical procedures in an attempt to save protective equipment for health care providers.

Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice board member Gabriela Cano said Stitt's clarification is too broad.

"These medical procedures are done more in clinics than in hospitals, and he did not specify what that would look like to — what type of procedure would be banned," Cano said.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

Oklahoma now has supplies to run 10,000 additional COVID-19 tests, but widespread testing is still a ways off.

State Secretary of Science and Innovation Doctor Kayse Shrum said testing hospitalized patients will be the top priority.

Oklahoma had another 74 cases of COVID-19 reported Friday, bringing the state's total to 322.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 105 people have now been hospitalized for the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, and an eighth person has died, a Creek County man in his 70s.

Five counties had their first reported cases of COVID-19. The illness is now officially in 38 counties.

Oklahoma County continues to lead the state with 93 reported cases, followed by Tulsa County with 49 — an increase of eight cases — and Cleveland County with 39.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has ordered people over 65 or with serious medical conditions to stay home through April and nonessential businesses in counties with reported cases of COVID-19 to close for 21 days.

So, what if they don’t?

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter issued a clarification Thursday. Violating an executive order can be a misdemeanor, but law enforcement officers will primarily try to talk people into compliance.

The $2 trillion federal COVID-19 stimulus package includes $25 billion for transit.

General Manager Ted Rieck said that’s good news for Tulsa Transit, as ridership has dropped sharply during the pandemic.

"There are provisions to offset revenue loss, I believe. So, while we still have to evaluate that, there’s reason to be hopeful that we’ll be in decent shape," Rieck said.

Rieck said they’re still figuring out what they might get from the stimulus bill.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

State officials say Oklahoma has received enough materials to run 10,000 tests for COVID-19.

They were trying to get their hands on the reagent needed for the tests. From photos tweeted by Gov. Kevin Stitt, the chemicals came from Thermo Fisher Scientific, one of a handful of companies given fast-track approval earlier this month for a commercial test to detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell is in self-quarantine after traveling to Florida two weeks ago.

Responding to questions from Oklahoman reporter Carmen Forman on Twitter, Pinnell said he and his family drove to a relative’s house March 14 and returned home to Oklahoma "as the situation unfolded."

Pinnell said he has not been in contact with anyone known to have COVID-19, is not experiencing any symptoms and has been working remotely as part of the Governor's Solutions Task Force.

Tulsa County

Updated March 27, 11:50 a.m.

City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, River Parks and Broken Arrow park facilities are closed.

In a COVID-19 briefing Thursday, Tulsa officials said people continue to gather at them in large groups despite the pandemic and bans on gatherings of 10 or more people.

City of Tulsa and River Parks dog parks, skate parks and sports courts closed Thursday. Broken Arrow closed the same facilities Friday morning.


The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 248 cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.

Two new deaths were reported in Cleveland County, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 60s. The illness has now killed seven Oklahomans and sent 86 to the hospital.

Six additional counties reported their first cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of counties with cases to 33. Oklahoma County continues to lead the state with 73 cases. Tulsa County had 14 new cases reported Thursday, bringing its total to 41.

Muskogee city and county officials are directing all residents to stay at home, citing concerns there are many unreported cases of COVID-19 because of a lack of testing supplies.

Under a joint resolution adopted at an emergency meeting Wednesday night, residents should only leave their homes for things like buying groceries, going to the pharmacy, outdoor exercise while staying six feet from others or working at an essential business as determined by Gov. Kevin Stitt’s executive orders.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A member of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet and two state lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe was tested after a prolonged, high fever. The governor’s office says he is following quarantine procedures at home and has not been in contact with Stitt in more than two weeks.

In the legislature, Rep. Jason Lowe and Sen. Paul Rosino said they have tested positive for COVID-19 but are doing well and recovering.

U.S. Air Force

A day after ordering nonessential businesses closed in counties with cases of COVID-19, Gov. Kevin Stitt broadened his list of those considered essential.


Tulsa Public Schools officials have been talking to other districts about their experiences switching to distance learning ahead of Wednesday's decision by the State Board of Education to keep Oklahoma schools closed the rest of the year.

"It’s not going to be super-smooth, I think is the way to summarize what we’ve heard from some of the very best districts in the country and what they’ve done," said TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist. "It’s been challenging. And so, that’s one of the main messages we’ve heard from them is, 'Be prepared to solve a lot of problems.'"

Several new rules won approval on Wednesday from the Oklahoma State Board of Education.

Some are emergency measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including an extension to how long a teacher can be emergency certified.

Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma K–12 students will not go back to their classrooms this school year.

The State Board of Education approved a plan Wednesday to keep schools closed and shift to distance learning. Some parents wanted officials to wait a couple weeks to see how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out, but State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the decision had to be made now.

"It isn’t possible for districts to flip a switch and shift into that kind of delivery of education without advance notice," Hofmeister said.

Department of Defense

New figures from the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday show five people in the state have now died from COVID-19 and Tulsa County's number of reported cases has more than doubled, going from 12 to 27.

A man in his 70s and a man in his 40s in Oklahoma County account for the two new deaths. There have been 59 people hospitalized for the illness.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Aircraft parts maker Spirit Aerosystems announced Tuesday that it was temporarily halting work for Boeing performed in Tulsa, McAlester and Wichita facilities amid an outbreak of the coronavirus.

The move came after Boeing announced Monday that it was suspending operations at its Seattle area facilities. At least 110 people have died from COVID-19 in Washington state, mostly in the Seattle area. Boeing employs about 70,000 people in the region. The company said 32 employees have tested positive for the virus, including 25 in the greater Seattle area.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Tuesday expanded his executive order banning gatherings of 10 or more people in Tulsa.

It previously applied only to city facilities.

"Moving forward, there are to be no groups in any facilities or elsewhere in Tulsa of 10 or more people, and that will be enforced by the Tulsa police department," Bynum said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Oklahoma’s efforts to ramp up COVID-19 testing could hit a snag if supply bottlenecks persist.

Deputy State Secretary of Science and Innovation Elizabeth Pollard said they are pursuing testing materials from commercial sources.

"Here we can get reagents from outside of just our government allocation and be able to run tests on commercial platforms that we have available in the state to be able to meet the demand that we have," Pollard said.

Medical associations, Democratic state representatives and thousands of citizens are pushing Gov. Kevin Stitt to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order.

House Minority Leader Emily Virgin said it must be done to curb the spread of COVID-19, a threat Oklahoma has yet to fully grasp.

"From everything we’ve seen, our situation is worse than what the official numbers are telling us because we haven’t had access to an adequate number of tests," Virgin said.