COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Whitney Bryen-Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma Supreme Court and Court of Appeals issued a joint order to courts across the state on Wednesday about how to proceed under a state of emergency for COVID-19.

All district courts are to continue jury trials to the next available jury dockets and release all current jurors from service.

Court deadlines and procedures and all non-jury proceedings are being suspended 30 days. That essentially puts a moratorium on evictions in Oklahoma.


The State Board of Education has approved a plan to close public schools across Oklahoma until April 6 because of COVID-19.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said it will be challenging for students and families, but their safety and educators’ is her top priority.

The board can come back together to re-evaluate closures at any time before April 6.

"This is a dynamic situation, very fluid. It changes by the hour, and we need to keep pace with those developments, and we are committed to doing that," Hofmeister said.

Serge Melki

After discussions with health officials and rare, bipartisan caucus meetings, Oklahoma lawmakers restrict access to the capitol going forward to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It will just be elected officials, essential capitol staff, credentialed reporters and state employees invited to meetings until further notice, so no pages, no field trips and no visitors in the galleries.

"We are not in a panic, but we are taking this serious to try to make sure that we protect our staff, our members and the public of Oklahoma," said Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat.

Tulsa Public Schools is closing all schools in the district through April 3 to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Students will not return to school until at least April 6. A letter to parents said families should anticipate there may be an even longer closure.

District office buildings will close Wednesday and remain closed through April 3. TPS employees will be paid through that date and will be informed by Friday if the closure might go longer.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Monday declared a civil emergency in response to COVID-19.

It formalizes his directive that events with 50 or more people at city facilities or requiring a city permit be canceled.

Bynum is also taking several additional steps to limit the impact of COVID-19, including implementing a moratorium on water shutoffs.

"At a time when we’re asking Tulsans to stay home as much as they possibly can and to be washing their hands as frequently as they can, we don’t want them to have to worry about water service to their house," Bynum said.

KWGS News file photo

Oklahoma is now at 10 reported cases of COVID-19.

Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said with the steady uptick comes unwelcome news.

"Community spread has been identified in Oklahoma over the weekend, and that was identified in Cleveland County. It is likely, in all honestly, that we will detect community spread very soon in Tulsa County," Dart said.

Princess Cruises

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Officials say more than two dozen Oklahomans who were on a cruise that had a coronavirus outbreak have returned home after being quarantined.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said Monday that all 26 Oklahomans who were on the Grand Princess cruise ship have returned home. Hey says they were all asymptomatic before being allowed to return to Oklahoma and they will remain quarantined in their homes for another 14 days and be monitored by local health officials.

Oklahoma Watch

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is asking the State Board of Educaton to authorize closure of all Oklahoma schools until April 6.

Hofmeister called an emergency meeting for 4 p.m. today.

OSDE will closely monitor the COVID-19 situation with state health experts to determine if it will be necessary to extend the closure.

File photo

Concern about the coronavirus is leading a lot of people to stay home, and that means even fewer people are giving blood.

Jan Hale with the Red Cross said the thick of cold and flu season is already a tough time to find donors.

"There's an ongoing need, and it's probably not going to get any better before it gets worse. So, we would just urge anyone that's healthy, that's eligible, that's well — just celebrate your good health and come save a life," Hale said.

Tulsa Zoo

The Tulsa Zoo is closed indefinitely and all Tulsa-City County Library locations are closed to the public for at least two weeks as a preventative measure to limit exposure to the coronavirus.

Zoo officials said they based their decision on a directive from Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum to cancel gatherings of 50 or more people. The zoo announced the closure Sunday. It will remain closed until given clearance from the city to resume normal operations. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency Sunday after three more positive tests for COVID-19 were reported over the weekend.

"On March 6, we had our first confirmed case. We now have eight positive cases in Oklahoma," Stitt said.

A private laboratory authorized by the state to test for COVID-19 reported Oklahoma’s eighth positive test result on Sunday. Cases have now been identified in Cleveland, Jackson, Kay, Oklahoma, Payne and Tulsa counties.

Tulsa County leads the state with three cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has canceled all visitation and all volunteer access to facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among staff, inmates and volunteers.

The action took effect Friday at 6 p.m. DOC officials said they are closely adhering to guidelines set by the American Correctional Association, Oklahoma State Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep the illness from being introduced in state facilities.

A woman in her 60s is Oklahoma County's first case of COVID-19, bringing the state's total number of cases to four.

State health officials said the woman recently traveled to Florida. She is considered a "presumptive positive" case, meaning a state lab returned a positive result that has not yet been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Office of Attorney General

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump’s declaration Friday of a national emergency over the new coronavirus triggered an Oklahoma law that prohibits price-gouging, the state’s attorney general said.

Attorney General Mike Hunter said the law prohibits an increase of more than 10% in the price of goods or services during a declared emergency.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Updated March 15, 7:12 p.m.  

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issuing new guidelines for canceling events Sunday evening, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has updated a directive to cancel city events and gatherings at city facilities.

Now, scheduled gatherings of 50 people or more are being canceled and new ones prohibited through April 15 in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Tulsa County officials gave an update Friday afternoon on their preparations to deal with COVID-19.

New coronavirus testing protocols are coming from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Doctor Bruce Dart said they will match guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control on who should be tested for COVID-19.


The Tulsa Health Department is developing guidance for local entities on when to cancel events because of the risk of COVID-19.

The guidelines are being developed in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

"It’s going to be based on the penetration of coronavirus in our community, but it’s draft form right now. We’ve got several other people, like our county emergency manager — we want some other eyes on it," said Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Oklahoma has another case of the illness caused by the coronavirus, and it is not connected to Wednesday’s canceled NBA game between the Thunder and the Jazz.

"At this time in Oklahoma, we have three cases of COVID-19. The two additional presumptive test results from the Utah Jazz players will be included in the state of Utah’s COVID-19 numbers," said State Health Commissioner Gary Cox.

Cox said fans at the game are at low risk because the disease is not airborne.


One of two Utah Jazz players to test positive for COVID-19 visited an Oklahoma school ahead of the team's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which was ultimately postponed after a teammate's test came back positive.

Mid-Del School District officials said all-star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell took part in a shoot-around Tuesday night at Del City High School. At that time, Mitchell was not showing symptoms of COVID-19 and had not been tested for the illness.

Oklahoma Watch

With two cases of COVID-19 in Tulsa County, area schools are implementing safety measures.

Most school districts are now taking additional cleaning and sanitizing measures. Several are prepared to shift instruction from classrooms to the internet if health officials advise closing schools.

Tulsa Public Schools has canceled all school-sponsored travel within the U.S. through March 30th and all international travel through April 30th.

Public health officials in Tulsa -- and everywhere else, of course -- are now monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus, COVID-19. This virus was first identified in China in January. Late last week, the first confirmed COVID-19 case was announced in Tulsa County: a man in his fifties who had recently visited Italy. On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we offer an update on this still-evolving, fast-changing situation. Our guest is the Tulsa Health Department's executive director, Dr. Bruce Dart, who has worked in public health for forty years.


The coronavirus is a major factor in a softer economic outlook for a nine-state region that includes Oklahoma.

According to the Mid-America Business Conditions Index, 40% of supply managers said the coronavirus is hurting their companies. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said 27% are cutting back on international buying, and 24% switched to domestic vendors for some orders.