COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County on Wednesday again broke a record for most new confirmed COVID-19 infections reported in a single day, and, as the spread continues to worsen, officials said they are discussing the possibility of making the wearing of masks mandatory and enforceable by law.

File photo

Following a marathon special virtual meeting of the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education that started on Tuesday and ended early Wednesday, members voted to extend Superintendent Deborah Gist's contract for two years.

Facebook / City of Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City’s metro area is witnessing an alarming spike in COVID-19 infections among young people that is being driven largely by “super spreader” indoor events like church activities, fitness classes, weddings, funerals and at bars, city officials said Tuesday.

Odell Architecture

At a special meeting of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority (TPFA) held virtually on Tuesday, an executive from the company that manages the BOK Center said they will not book or sign contracts for any further events without clear guidelines.

"Our intention is not to book any additional events, or contract with any additional event organizers, until we have some policies or guidance from the TPFA and perhaps even other local officials, including the public health director," said Doug Thornton, an executive vice president at ASM Global.

Tulsa Health Department

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 295 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday -- about a third of those, 91, in Tulsa County.

The state has now passed the 11,000 mark, with 11,028 known infections since the beginning of the pandemic. Tulsa County's total number of confirmed cases stands at 2,483.

Two new deaths were reported on Tuesday: a Kiowa County man in the 50-64 age group, and a Wagoner County man 65-years-or-older. The state's confirmed death total is now 371.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With wildly different attendance numbers being reported by the Tulsa Fire Department -- 6,200 -- and the Trump campaign -- 12,000 -- for Saturday's rally, Mayor G.T. Bynum said Monday that the true number is likely somewhere in the middle.

"I want to put an asterisk on the fire marshal's designation, because that does not include people that were in suites in the BOK Center or staff that were there," Bynum said in an interview with KRMG Radio. "So clearly it's somewhere in between those numbers."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 218 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state on Monday. 

10,733 Oklahomans have now tested positive, the department reports. One additional death, a woman 65 or older in Grady County, was reported, although that death did not take place over the last 24 hours.

OSDH says 197 people are currently hospitalized with the novel coronavirus.

Honolulu.gov

HONOLULU (AP) — A tourist from Oklahoma who was supposed to be obeying Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving to the state, was pronounced dead after he was found unresponsive in the ocean.

 

The Honolulu medical examiner’s office identified him as Kristopher Michael Oliphant, 39, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A cause of death was pending Friday. 

 

Facebook / Gov. Kevin Stitt

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is urging anyone who attended President Donald Trump's Saturday campaign rally or any of several recent protests against racism and police violence to be tested for COVID-19.

"Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is urging Oklahomans who have chosen to attend large-scale gatherings in recent weeks to seek out testing for COVID-19, even if symptoms are not present," a statement released on Sunday reads. It also instructs Oklahomans to be tested prior to attending any future large gatherings.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases jumped by 478 on Sunday to a new record while one additional death was recorded due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

 

Oklahoma surpassed 10,000 cases of COVID-19 to start the weekend, and Tulsa County set a fourth straight one-day record in new cases.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 331 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the state's total to 10,037. Tulsa County had 136 of those cases, coming on the heels of previous single-day records of 96 set Wednesday, 120 set Thursday and 125 set Friday.

Tulsa County now has 2,206 cases of COVID-19, most in the state and more than 200 ahead of Oklahoma County.

As new COVID-19 infections skyrocket in Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt defended Saturday's Trump campaign rally in Tulsa.

Appearing on Fox News on Friday, Stitt was asked how he responds to public health officials who have said the rally should be postponed.

Some of Oklahoma's $1.2 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding is going toward grant programs to help struggling small businesses and families facing eviction.

A small business relief program is getting $100 million, with 20% allocated for businesses owned by people of color. Governor’s Minority Business Council Chair David Castillo said that will help a woman he knows who had to lay off almost all of her restaurant staff and nearly shut down as the pandemic cut into her business.

Tulsa County set a new high in COVID-19 cases for the third day in a row on Friday.

There were 125 new cases reported, bringing the county to 2,070, with 721 of them active. Tulsa County is the first in the state to surpass 2,000 cases.

There was one new death in Tulsa County on Friday, bringing the total to 65. Hospitalizations also rose, to a high of 47.

Tulsa Health Department Director Doctor Bruce Dart said they’re watching that trend closely.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Oklahoma on Thursday smashed its record for new COVID-19 cases set just the day before.

The State Health Department reported 450 new cases Thursday — a 5% jump — bringing the state’s total to 9,354. There are more than 1,900 active infections.

The numbers were reportedly delayed because a technical problem at the state health department and did not come out until after Gov. Kevin Stitt participated in a small business round table with President Donald Trump at the White House, where he said Oklahoma is one of the first states to safely reopen.

Twitter / @TulsaPolice

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Wednesday had choice words for Tulsans who refuse to follow public health guidelines during the current rise in coronavirus infections.

"If Tulsans are not willing to take that kind of responsibility to protect one another, then don't be surprised when you see your numbers increase," he said, after describing how few people he sees wearing masks in the city. "We have a responsibility to protect each other through this, through responsible behavior in our daily lives."

Odell Architecture

Updated June 18, 6:55 p.m. to include a statement from the mayor's office.  

The authority that oversees City of Tulsa–owned venues does not believe it can move Saturday’s Trump campaign rally.

Despite concerns about filling a 19,000-seat arena in the middle of a spike in COVID-19 cases, members of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority concluded they don’t have power to cancel contracts entered into by ASM Global, the company that manages the BOK Center.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

A new nationwide survey estimates that only seven states in the country are currently adequately staffed with contact tracers to manage the novel coronavirus.

Oklahoma is not one of them.

The NPR analysis found that only Alaska, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have enough active contact tracers. Six other states have enough if counting reserve staff. 

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Speaking just minutes after the director of the Tulsa Health Department reiterated his belief that the president's reelection rally this week should be postponed due to surging coronavirus numbers in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, Mayor G.T. Bynum said at a press conference Wednesday that while he can't guarantee anyone's safety, he will not act to prevent the rally from taking place.

NIAID-RML

The state of Oklahoma and Tulsa County once again set records for new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

The state health department reported 259 new cases statewide, surpassing the previous one-day high of 225 set Saturday. The state has 8,904 cases to date.

Tulsa County accounted for 96 of the state's new cases. The county's previous record, 89 new cases, was set Monday. Tulsa County now has 1,825 cases of COVID-19.

One death was reported Wednesday, an Oklahoma County woman 65 or older. COVID-19 has now killed 364 Oklahomans.

A group of Tulsa attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday to force the use of coronavirus safety measures at the BOK Center during President Trump’s Saturday campaign rally, but a judge denied their requests for a temporary injunction and expedited hearing hours later.

Attorney Clark Brewster said filling a 19,000-seat arena with screaming fans of the president during a surge in new COVID-19 cases but not requiring them to wear masks has the makings of a super-spreader event.

Department of Defense

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 228 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the most in a single day so far.

The state now has 8,645 total cases of the illness, and its seven-day average of new cases has surged from 69 on June 1 to 183 as of Tuesday.

Tulsa County had 76 new cases on Tuesday, its third-highest increase to date and in just the past week. The county now has 1,729 total cases of COVID-19, most in the state. Oklahoma County has the second-highest number of total cases, 1,673, an increase of 30 from Monday.

Dr. Jabraan Pasha, University of Oklahoma Medical Center

Calling it a matter of public health, not politics, hundreds of health care providers have signed their names on a letter to Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, calling on him to prevent President Trump's campaign rally planned for the BOK Center on Saturday.

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