COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Facebook / Tulsa Public Schools

Following the Oklahoma State Board of Education's vote to not require a statewide COVID-19 policy, some Oklahoma school district officials say they're now being put in a tough spot.

"It's just much more difficult than anything I've dealt with in 47 years in the business," said Terry Davidson, finance director and former superintendent for Comanche Public Schools, of the pandemic, on a virtual meeting of the Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group on Monday.

Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

Hundreds of Oklahoma nonprofits have signed a letter in support of a proposed change to federal tax deduction limits supported by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Oklahoma's Sen. James Lankford.

The proposal could be a component of a new coronavirus relief package currently being considered by Congress. It would allow for an above-the-line deduction of up to $4,000 for individuals or $8,000 for those filing jointly.

Updated July 27, 6:15 p.m. to reflect disagreement between state and local figures for Tulsa County. 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Monday 1,401 new cases of COVID-19, the most in a single day to date and nearly 200 more than the previous record, set on Sunday.

Oklahoma now has 32,686 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state has added more than 18,500 cases so far this month, with more than 7,200 coming in the past week.

Twitter / @OU_Football

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma-Missouri State football game scheduled for Sept. 5 in Norman has been moved to one week earlier, Aug. 29, University of Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said Saturday.

The NCAA has approved a waiver requested by both schools, allowing them more flexibility in dealing with potential issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement from Castiglione.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of reported coronavirus cases in Oklahoma has surpassed 30,000 and nearly 500 have now died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the illness, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said Saturday.

Twitter / @GovStitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The head of coronavirus response at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center said Friday that an increase in the number of younger Oklahoma residents dying as a result of the virus has become a worry. 

Twitter / @FLOTUS

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — First lady Melania Trump said she hopes to take the Cherokee Nation up on its invitation to visit the tribe’s headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

The first lady made the comments Thursday after a meeting of the President’s Task Force on Protecting Children in the Indian Health Service System, which is co-chaired by Trent Shores, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Facebook / Tuttle Care Center

The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps, a medical and public health volunteer system that is part of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, put out an "urgent weekend request" for nurses and nursing assistants due to an "outbreak" at a long-term care facility in the Grady County city of Tuttle. 

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Tulsa Police Department will be responding to complaints about Tulsa's new mandatory mask ordinance only if called by a property owner, Mayor G.T. Bynum and TPD Chief Wendell Franklin explained at a Thursday press conference. 

"Officers are not driving around town looking for somebody who doesn't have a mask on," Bynum said. "Instead, it empowers property owners to tell people that that's the ordinance and they need to have a mask on, and if not then they need to leave. If the person won't leave, then TPD can enforce the trespass ordinance that we have in place."

Food and Drug Administration

Oklahoma's total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 314 on Friday as the State Department of Health reported a total of 29,116.

The state's online dashboard showed an increase of 1,147 cases, but that number reflected some cases reported out of a backlog of more than 820 the health department said was caused by multiple reporting system crashes. On Thursday, the state's total number of cases was 28,802.

The state health department said Friday the backlog of cases had been resolved.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Enrollment at a virtual charter school in Oklahoma has skyrocketed amid the coronavirus pandemic that forced closures for traditional school districts.

Facebook / Broken Arrow Tiger Sports

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The governing body for high school activities in Oklahoma plans for sports, including football, to start on time in the fall.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 737 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 28,802.

Tulsa County had 112 of Thursday's reported cases, bringing its total to 6,856. Oklahoma County leads the state with 6,981 cases.

The state health department reported three deaths on Thursday, with one in the past 24 hours. Two deaths were women 65 or older. The third death was a man between 50 and 64 years old.

COVID-19 has now officially killed 477 Oklahomans. Tulsa County leads the state with 89 deaths.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County officials said local coronavirus numbers remain troubling, but they hope the recently adopted mask mandate can slow or reverse the trends.

"Are we plateauing in cases as the governor indicated we might be in Oklahoma? In Tulsa County, we are not -- we are continuing to surge," said Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, in response to a reporter's question.

"We're continuing to see a higher percent of daily positives than we would like. It's telling us the virus is widespread in our community and the prevalence is extremely high," Dart said.

Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma schools will not be required by the state to institute any specific COVID safety protocols if the pandemic worsens after kids return to school.

On a 4–3 vote Thursday, the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved a motion to reduce any requirements in a proposed set of COVID safety protocols to recommendations.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections cancelled visitation at all state prisons over the weekend following an outbreak at the Lexington Correctional Center, where 87 inmates inside one housing unit tested positive in the last 24 hours. All of the inmates reported no symptoms prior to testing and were placed in isolation, the agency said in a press release.

Tulsa Public Schools officials are calling a staggered attendance model the best shot at safe, in-person classes this fall as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Facebook / US Army Fort Sill

Following the death of the 13-year-old daughter of a service member stationed there, the U.S. Army's Fort Sill in Comanche County has announced a strengthening of its mandatory mask policy.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 918 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 28,065.

The increase is the state's third-highest for a single day, not including a total of 1,714 reported on Tuesday. Nearly half of Tuesday's reported cases were from other days, but state officials said they were stuck in a backlog in their outdated reporting system.

Tulsa County had 209 of Wednesday's reported cases, bringing its total to 6,744. Oklahoma County surpassed Tulsa County and leads the state with 6,762 cases.

KWGS News file photo

The State of Oklahoma has expanded the number of hospitals in its COVID-19 surge plan, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday, adding an estimated 340 beds.

Mercy Hospital and Norman Regional Health System are now offering beds at sites in addition to OSU Medical Center in Tulsa, OU Medical Center and other hospitals.

Department of Defense

Officials at the state health department said they are still working to fix technical issues with its COVID public reporting system, but on Tuesday they announced Oklahoma’s total number of cases stands at 27,147.

There were 893 cases were reported Tuesday. State Health Commissioner Lance Frye said the other 821 were in a digital backlog, and some may offset surprisingly low case numbers reported yesterday and Sunday.

Facebook / Crossover Preparatory Academy

Democratic lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are pushing back against Gov. Kevin Stitt's announcement that he will award $10 million of federal coronavirus education funding to private schools.

Google Street View

Oklahoma health care providers and associations are reacting to the reported COVID-19 death of Aimee Williams, a nurse practitioner at Tulsa's Hillcrest Medical Center.

"The Oklahoma Nurses Association extends its deepest condolences to the family of the nurse practitioner who died as a result of COVID," CEO Jane Nelson said in a statement.  "The entire nursing profession mourns with you."

Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is preparing teachers for a demanding yet uncertain 2020-2021.

During the agency’s annual summer conference, Executive Director of School Design and Innovation Aaron Espolt shared results of a national survey showing only about one in three parents is at all likely to expect less from their students this year after last school year was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, and nearly three in four are confident their kids will be prepared for college, an increase from last year.

Liam James Doyle / NPR

Oklahoma’s sole Democrat in Congress said Monday another coronavirus relief bill is needed as cases surge, despite voting against a $3 trillion package in May.

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn told an AARP virtual town hall the bill known as the HEROES Act was too big and too broad to get her support.

National Junior Angus Association

The National Junior Angus Show has set up shop at Tulsa's Expo Square with attendees coming from across the country to participate even as coronavirus cases spike locally and nationwide.

"It's all O.K. in OK" is a slogan for the event, repeated on signs and in promotional videos for the weeklong gathering.

Hillcrest HealthCare System

A nurse practitioner at Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa has died, according to a statement from a Hillcrest spokesperson. Multiple social media posts appearing to be from colleagues and a fundraising campaign appearing to be created by the woman's husband say it was due to complications from the novel coronavirus.

Surprisingly low numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday and Monday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health were the result of data entry issues.

The health department said Monday because of those issues, Sunday's 209 cases and Monday's 168 cases are low and don't reflect real-time data.

Oklahoma State Department of Education.

At a meeting scheduled for Thursday, the Oklahoma State Board of Education is expected to discuss the possibility of implementing a mask requirement for schools that reopen for in-person learning this fall.

Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who heads the State Department of Education, said a system is still being developed, but that a policy would likely be tiered, with recommendations or requirements based upon the status of a school's community on Oklahoma's color-coded COVID Alert System.

Appearing on Fox News days after becoming the first governor in the country known to have tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Kevin Stitt said that catching the virus himself hasn't impacted his response to the pandemic in Oklahoma.

"You know, I don't think so," Stitt told Fox host Leland Vittert on Saturday. "From the very beginning I've told Oklahomans the reason we've issued 30 executive orders was really to flatten the curve and build hospital capacity, make sure we had PPE for our health care workers. And Oklahomans have done that."

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