karen keith

Hospital demand for convalescent plasma to help people battling COVID-19 is up 700% in recent weeks, according to the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

OBI Executive Director Jan Laub said that’s in addition to their normal demand for blood products, all of which are coming up a bit short.

"We need 1,200 donations a day just on blood supply, and think about all the people in our hospital with COVID-related illness that we could, you know, if we had the CCP donors in here, we could be helping. So, it’s at a critical level," Laub said.

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Officials in Tulsa said Thursday that a direct causal connection cannot be drawn between the coronavirus infection of former presidential candidate Herman Cain and his attendance at President Trump's rally last month at the BOK Center.

"I don't know how he caught it," Mayor G.T. Bynum said of Cain, who, like the majority of the 6,000-person crowd at the rally, did not wear a mask in the arena. "I haven't seen any conclusive information on where he got it from."

Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department and a personal friend of Cain, agreed.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith announced Wednesday that she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

"Despite our best efforts, we contracted Covid on our little getaway road trip. I just got my positive test back from OSU Medical," Keith wrote in a public Facebook post.

ICE.gov

The Tulsa Board of County Commissioners voted 3-0 on Monday to end a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house federal immigration detainees in a special unit at the Tulsa County Jail.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office (TCSO) said that the contract, under which they receive $69 per day for each federal inmate detained, was not making fiscal sense recently, due to a steady decline in inmates that the county says ICE has never explained.

Tulsa officials on Friday said the city and county are ready to follow the state into phase three of a reopening plan on Monday.

As of Friday, Tulsa County had 983 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, 158 active cases and 51 deaths. Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Doctor Bruce Dart said the county's case trend is almost flat and hospitalization rates are trending up but remain manageable.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he does not have the same concerns proceeding to phase three as he did going into phase one, however, because the main benchmark is hospital capacity.

County Commissioner Karen Keith

It’s been a big week for Tulsa’s levees.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite on Thursday signed a "chiefs report," recommending to Congress $150 million to $200 million in construction on the levees.

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded Tulsa County $3 million for levee pump work earlier this week.

County Commissioner Karen Keith said Semonite saw the levees for himself on a visit during last spring’s floods.

"There hasn’t been a chief’s report in 40 years for our division. So, it’s a pretty big deal," Keith said.

County Commissioner Karen Keith

The U.S. Commerce Department announced Tuesday a $3 million dollar award to Tulsa County for improvements to the Arkansas River levee system.

The grant is directed through the department's Economic Development Administration, or EDA, and is intented "to improve critical infrastructure needed to protect businesses from flood damage," according to a press release from a Commerce Department spokesperson.

Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said the money will help protect neighborhoods from the type of flooding devastated in last spring's storms.