COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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Nursing homes are looking for emergency funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Care Providers Oklahoma President and CEO Steven Buck said the group is supporting a request by care facilities nationwide for $10 billion out of $175 billion in a provider relief fund created by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Facebook / @ClarkForNorman

Facing accusations of religious discrimination from Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and U.S. Attorney Timothy Downing, Norman Mayor Breea Clark on Friday announced that she would amend the city's order meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 and allow places of worship to hold in-person services sooner than she originally intended.

Facebook / @AlliedPlasticOKC

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma City plastic supplier company has been receiving thousands of orders for custom-made protective barriers from businesses reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Health officials say four more people in Oklahoma have died  from the coronavirus, bringing the total of deaths to 270.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says that the number of confirmed positive cases in the state increased by 66, for a total of 4,490.

The number of actual infections is thought to be far higher because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without showing symptoms.

With Tesla founder Elon Musk using Twitter as a platform to threaten to pull his company out of California due to his disagreement with the state's measures to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt saw an opening on Saturday.

"Oklahoma is open for business," the tweet from the governor's official account reads. "We're doing it safely, responsibly and based on the data in our state. @ElonMusk, let's talk!"

"P.S.," the tweet concludes, "Route 66 would make a great place for a test drive..."

City of Norman residents have been in touch with Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office about their mayor’s reopening plan because it delays in-person church services from resuming until May 15.

After three weeks of declining new unemployment claims, Oklahoma set another new record during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 68.237 initial claims last week, almost 16,000 more than the week prior and about 6,500 more than the previous record, set the week ending April 4.

The record number of claims include gig workers who recently became eligible for benefits, but they don’t completely account for the spike.

Instagram / @CityOfTulsa

Despite the City of Tulsa's financial belt-tightening, the Parks and Recreation department doesn't foresee major interruptions in maintenance and capital projects.

At a virtual meeting of the Tulsa Parks & Recreation Board on Tuesday, Anna America, the city's parks director, said parkgoers don't have to worry.

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 94 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total number of confirmed cases to 4,424.

Six additional deaths were also reported, with two in the past day. Two were between 50 and 64 years old, and the rest were 65 or older. The illness has now killed 266 Oklahomans and hospitalized 815, with 228 currently hospitalized.

Oklahoma County leads the state with 905 cases and 41 deaths. Tulsa County has had 684 cases and 36 deaths, and Cleveland County has had 453 cases and 32 deaths.

Office of the State Treasurer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Revenue collections in Oklahoma fell by half a billion dollars in April from a year ago as an economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic swept the state, Treasurer Randy McDaniel said Thursday.

Gross receipts fell $502.5 million to just under $1.1 billion, down 31.8% from April 2019, McDaniel said.

Income tax collections fell by 50.5% to $405.8 million. McDaniel noted that the filing deadline for income taxes was postponed from April 15 until July 15 because of the pandemic.

Scott Aycock

Hello, Folk Salad fans! We're back on the air with new shows! 

 Richard Higgs and I sheltering at home and creating radio from my living room. We JUST set up a studio so we can start bringing you some brand new shows. Some great new music has come across our desk and we look forward to sharing it with you, as well as some of our favorites and yours, and of course our own great Oklahoma artists.  

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 129 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total number of confirmed cases to 4,330.

Seven additional deaths were also reported, and 260 Oklahomans have now died from the illness since March 18.

Two deaths happened in the past day, and the rest happened between April 20 and Tuesday. Five of the people who died were age 65 or older. The other two were between 50 and 64 years old.

KWGS File Photo

While COVID-19 is spreading in jails, Sheriff Vic Regalado said Wednesday the Tulsa County Jail remains without a confirmed case.

Regalado said his office will start testing all existing and incoming inmates next week.

"The COVID testing will consist of nasal as well as saliva tests, and I hope that gives us an insight, especially as it concerns asymptomatic inmates," Regalado said.

The number of workers workers at a pork processing plant in Guymon testing positive for the coronavirus is up to at least 151, according to state officials on Wednesday.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said the state is helping the situation at the Seaboard Foods plant by sending health department contact tracers and offering housing at a public college about 20 minutes away in Goodwell.

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Two days after the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a requirement that absentee ballots be notarized, House Republicans pushed through a bill to reinstitute it.

Facebook / @CottonElectric

According to a trade association, rural electric cooperatives provide power to 1 in every 8 Americans, and the industry faces dire numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic, with an estimated loss of $7.4 billion in revenue.

For Cotton Electric Cooperative, which powers 22,000 meters across eight Oklahoma counties from its headquarters in Walters, that could spell trouble.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 74 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total since March 6 to 4,201.

Six new deaths were also reported Wednesday, and 253 Oklahomans have now died of COVID-19 since March 18.

One death happened in the past day. The rest happened between Saturday and Monday. Four deaths were in Oklahoma County. Three people were women 65 and older; the fourth was a man between 50 and 64 years old.

Oklahoma County now leads the state with 40 deaths. The two other deaths were in Cleveland and Creek counties.

Facebook / @OfficialFtSill

Speaking on a livestream town hall, Fort Sill's seventh such event throughout the coronavirus crisis, Commanding General Kenneth Kamper said Tuesday that, as much as he might want to get back to normal on post, it just isn't time yet.

"I want to lift it as much as you want it lifted," Kamper said, in response to a question about when and whether Fort Sill leadership is considering ending a ban on travel outside a 60-mile radius from the installation. 

But, he added, it's too early, and data from nearby places confirm that.

Tulsa Public Schools will spend up to $500,000 on mobile hotspots and data services from Sprint for students who need summer school but don’t have internet at home.

TPS will have 1,500 hot spots available.

"We’re prioritizing the upper-grade students, high school students, including [this year’s] seniors who may need to move on into the summer to continue wrapping up their credits," said Superintendent Deborah Gist.

Some devices will be available for younger students, too, but the COVID-19 pandemic is making TPS prioritize.

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Oklahoma lawmakers on Tuesday gave Gov. Kevin Stitt another 30 days of expanded powers granted under a catastrophic health emergency declaration to deal with COVID-19.

Under state law, the declaration of a health emergency gives the governor powers including waiving regulations that could hinder the public health response, mobilizing the National Guard and reallocating up to $50 million in state funds for the response.

Instagram / @tulsazoo

Moving forward, Tulsa Zoo President and CEO Terrie Correll and other zoo professionals may be wise to be careful what they wish for.

"Every zookeeper's dream is to have the zoo to yourself," Correll said Tuesday during a virtual meeting of the City of Tulsa's Parks and Recreation Department, "and we've got it now."

Closed since mid-March due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the zoo has faced its share of difficulty , Correll said.

Department of Defense

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 83 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths from the illness.

The state's total number of cases rose to 4,127. The state considers 2,830 people to have recovered.

Of the nine people that died, two died in the past day. The other seven died between April 26 and Sunday. To date, 247 Oklahomans have died from the illness.

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This story was updated at 2:17 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5th, to reflect a response received after publication from Sean Livengood, who is both the mayor of Guymon and a Seaboard Foods employee. Livengood declined comment.

A pork processing plant in Guymon, Okla., is reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 among its plant workers, the latest plant across the country to be struck with cases of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Stuart Ostler / Oklahoma Capitol

In a 6–3 decision, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on Monday Oklahomans can cast their absentee ballots with just a signed affidavit.

The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma and two individual women sued the state election board secretary, asking the court to throw out a requirement absentee ballots be notarized. They said it could hurt voter turnout in elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Google Street View

The Tulsa Board of County Commissioners announced that a resolution limiting public access to the Tulsa County Courthouse due to the coronavirus pandemic will expire on Monday, May 3rd, with a phased reopening beginning the morning of Tuesday, May 4th.

Actual courtrooms, housed physically in the building but under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, will remain closed, but some county services and departments housed in the building, like the county clerk, assessor, and treasurer, will begin to receive the public.

Tulsa City Hall

Furloughs affecting about 1,000 municipal employees, meant to help mitigate lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will begin in Tulsa this Friday.

Michelle Brooks, communications director for the City of Tulsa, said the average Tulsan won't see much in the way of reduction in services, and no reduction at all in emergency services. 

"This does not impact public safety: our police, fire, 911, our utilities services," Brooks said. "Citizens are not going to see an impact there."

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Monday 72 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 4,044.

No new deaths were reported Sunday or Monday.

Monday's number of new cases was the smallest since Wednesday and the first increase of less than 100 since Thursday.

New infections continue to outpace new recoveries. The state considered 47 additional people to have recovered from COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total number to 2,682. That puts the number of active cases at 1,362.

KWGS News File Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Capitol will reopen to the public on a limited basis this week as the Legislature prepares to return and residents began returning to businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

State Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall said the public can enter the building starting 10 a.m. Monday after being screened and under social distancing and health safety protocols. 

Metro Pentecostal Church in Tulsa has lost several congregants and at least one pastor to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus currently spreading throughout Oklahoma, the country, and the world. One member spent 31 days on a ventilator. The head pastor fought and recovered from the illness.

Still, on Sunday, it became one of the first churches in Tulsa to reopen for in person worship service following Governor Kevin Stitt's orders to allow houses of worship to begin welcoming back congregations.

Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is warning that there may be more health hazards in reopening businesses than just the coronavirus.

The department has issued guidelines for businesses that have been closed, or even just using less water than usual, due to the pandemic, urging them to flush taps to avoid using water that may have been tainted by corrosion or bacteria, like the kind that could cause Legionnaire's Disease.

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