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Oklahoma State Department of Health

Seven new deaths from COVID-19 were reported Saturday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, bringing the state's total to 15.

Six deaths were in people 65 or older, with two each in Cleveland and Tulsa counties, and one in Oklahoma and Wagoner counties. A Sequoyah County woman between 50 and 64 years old also died.

Another 21 people have been hospitalized for the respiratory illness, bringing the total to 126, and Oklahoma had an additional 55 reported cases, bringing the state's total to 377.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The state’s top Native American gaming official rejected Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s latest casino gambling offer on Friday and accused the governor of trying to take advantage of the tribes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Matthew Morgan, the chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, described the governor’s latest offer as “yet another unsuccessful attempt to divide the tribes.”

U.S. Senate-File Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn has died. He was 72. A cousin tells The Associated Press that he died early Saturday morning.

Coburn had been diagnosed with prostate cancer years earlier. The Oklahoma Republican railed against federal earmarking and earned a reputation as a political maverick.

The physician won a U.S. House seat during the “Republican Revolution” in 1994. He stepped down after three terms, keeping a term-limit pledge.

He returned to his family medical practice in Muskogee, where during his career he delivered more than 4,000 babies.

Updated March 28, 1:05 p.m.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum issued a "shelter in place" order Saturday to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The City of Tulsa is referring to it as a "safer at home" order that follows one issued by Gov. Kevin Stitt earlier this week but applies to all Tulsans, not just those 65 and older or with a serious medical condition.

The order takes effect Saturday at 11:59 p.m. and will be in effect through April 16.

Laurie Avocado

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited from delivering during the new coronavirus pandemic, but they can offer curbside pickup with limited contact, state officials decided.

Dispensaries are considered “essential” businesses, which are exempt from Gov. Kevin Stitt’s order that directs some businesses in counties with confirmed cases of people with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

File Photo

Churches, think tanks and social service organizations are calling on Gov. Kevin Stitt to take actions that could prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state’s jails and prisons.

Joey Magana with Americans for Prosperity said the facilities are not safe for inmates or guards because they’re too full, house many people with medical conditions and not cleaned enough.

Okahoma State Departmet of Health

Any type of abortion not necessary to save a woman’s life or health must be delayed until April 7 in Oklahoma.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday they are included in his order to postpone some medical procedures in an attempt to save protective equipment for health care providers.

Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice board member Gabriela Cano said Stitt's clarification is too broad.

"These medical procedures are done more in clinics than in hospitals, and he did not specify what that would look like to — what type of procedure would be banned," Cano said.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

Oklahoma now has supplies to run 10,000 additional COVID-19 tests, but widespread testing is still a ways off.

State Secretary of Science and Innovation Doctor Kayse Shrum said testing hospitalized patients will be the top priority.

Oklahoma had another 74 cases of COVID-19 reported Friday, bringing the state's total to 322.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 105 people have now been hospitalized for the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, and an eighth person has died, a Creek County man in his 70s.

Five counties had their first reported cases of COVID-19. The illness is now officially in 38 counties.

Oklahoma County continues to lead the state with 93 reported cases, followed by Tulsa County with 49 — an increase of eight cases — and Cleveland County with 39.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has ordered people over 65 or with serious medical conditions to stay home through April and nonessential businesses in counties with reported cases of COVID-19 to close for 21 days.

So, what if they don’t?

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter issued a clarification Thursday. Violating an executive order can be a misdemeanor, but law enforcement officers will primarily try to talk people into compliance.

Courtesy

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The body of an Oklahoma serviceman killed in a rocket attack on a U.S. base in Iraq has been returned to his home state, welcomed by a small collection of mourners whose gathering was restricted by efforts to contain the coronavirus.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt joined the family of the late Air National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts at a transfer ceremony Wednesday at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base, the Tulsa World reported.

The $2 trillion federal COVID-19 stimulus package includes $25 billion for transit.

General Manager Ted Rieck said that’s good news for Tulsa Transit, as ridership has dropped sharply during the pandemic.

"There are provisions to offset revenue loss, I believe. So, while we still have to evaluate that, there’s reason to be hopeful that we’ll be in decent shape," Rieck said.

Rieck said they’re still figuring out what they might get from the stimulus bill.

Friday's top stories:

  • The City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, River Parks and Broken Arrow close playgrounds to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Oklahoma now has 248 cases of the illness. Seven people have died from it, and 86 have been hospitalized.
  • Muskogee city and county officials tell residents to stay at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

State officials say Oklahoma has received enough materials to run 10,000 tests for COVID-19.

They were trying to get their hands on the reagent needed for the tests. From photos tweeted by Gov. Kevin Stitt, the chemicals came from Thermo Fisher Scientific, one of a handful of companies given fast-track approval earlier this month for a commercial test to detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell is in self-quarantine after traveling to Florida two weeks ago.

Responding to questions from Oklahoman reporter Carmen Forman on Twitter, Pinnell said he and his family drove to a relative’s house March 14 and returned home to Oklahoma "as the situation unfolded."

Pinnell said he has not been in contact with anyone known to have COVID-19, is not experiencing any symptoms and has been working remotely as part of the Governor's Solutions Task Force.

Tulsa County

Updated March 27, 11:50 a.m.

City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, River Parks and Broken Arrow park facilities are closed.

In a COVID-19 briefing Thursday, Tulsa officials said people continue to gather at them in large groups despite the pandemic and bans on gatherings of 10 or more people.

City of Tulsa and River Parks dog parks, skate parks and sports courts closed Thursday. Broken Arrow closed the same facilities Friday morning.

NIAID-RML

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 248 cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.

Two new deaths were reported in Cleveland County, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 60s. The illness has now killed seven Oklahomans and sent 86 to the hospital.

Six additional counties reported their first cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of counties with cases to 33. Oklahoma County continues to lead the state with 73 cases. Tulsa County had 14 new cases reported Thursday, bringing its total to 41.

Muskogee city and county officials are directing all residents to stay at home, citing concerns there are many unreported cases of COVID-19 because of a lack of testing supplies.

Under a joint resolution adopted at an emergency meeting Wednesday night, residents should only leave their homes for things like buying groceries, going to the pharmacy, outdoor exercise while staying six feet from others or working at an essential business as determined by Gov. Kevin Stitt’s executive orders.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A member of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet and two state lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe was tested after a prolonged, high fever. The governor’s office says he is following quarantine procedures at home and has not been in contact with Stitt in more than two weeks.

In the legislature, Rep. Jason Lowe and Sen. Paul Rosino said they have tested positive for COVID-19 but are doing well and recovering.

U.S. Air Force

A day after ordering nonessential businesses closed in counties with cases of COVID-19, Gov. Kevin Stitt broadened his list of those considered essential.

Thursday's top stories:

  • Oklahoma K–12 students will not go back to their classrooms this year.
  • Tulsa Public Schools has been making plans for distance learning and expects some bumps in the road.
  • COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma increase to 164, with five dead and 59 hospitalized.

TPS

Tulsa Public Schools officials have been talking to other districts about their experiences switching to distance learning ahead of Wednesday's decision by the State Board of Education to keep Oklahoma schools closed the rest of the year.

"It’s not going to be super-smooth, I think is the way to summarize what we’ve heard from some of the very best districts in the country and what they’ve done," said TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist. "It’s been challenging. And so, that’s one of the main messages we’ve heard from them is, 'Be prepared to solve a lot of problems.'"

Several new rules won approval on Wednesday from the Oklahoma State Board of Education.

Some are emergency measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including an extension to how long a teacher can be emergency certified.

Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma K–12 students will not go back to their classrooms this school year.

The State Board of Education approved a plan Wednesday to keep schools closed and shift to distance learning. Some parents wanted officials to wait a couple weeks to see how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out, but State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the decision had to be made now.

"It isn’t possible for districts to flip a switch and shift into that kind of delivery of education without advance notice," Hofmeister said.

Department of Defense

New figures from the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday show five people in the state have now died from COVID-19 and Tulsa County's number of reported cases has more than doubled, going from 12 to 27.

A man in his 70s and a man in his 40s in Oklahoma County account for the two new deaths. There have been 59 people hospitalized for the illness.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Aircraft parts maker Spirit Aerosystems announced Tuesday that it was temporarily halting work for Boeing performed in Tulsa, McAlester and Wichita facilities amid an outbreak of the coronavirus.

The move came after Boeing announced Monday that it was suspending operations at its Seattle area facilities. At least 110 people have died from COVID-19 in Washington state, mostly in the Seattle area. Boeing employs about 70,000 people in the region. The company said 32 employees have tested positive for the virus, including 25 in the greater Seattle area.

Wikipedia

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Bill Braum, founder of Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores that has grown to nearly 300 outlets in five states, has died, the company announced Tuesday. He was 92.

Braum died Monday at his home in Tuttle, Oklahoma, the company said in a statement.

Braum grew up in Emporia, Kansas, where he worked for the small butter and milk processing plant his father ran. After selling the company he had inherited, Braum launched the chain bearing his name in 1968 with 22 Oklahoma stores.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • In a series of new orders to deal with COVID-19, Gov. Kevin Stitt tells vulnerable populations to stay home, closes nonessential businesses in affected counties.
  • Democratic lawmakers, medical groups and citizens press Stitt for a statewide shelter-in-place order.
  • Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum expands his executive order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum on Tuesday expanded his executive order banning gatherings of 10 or more people in Tulsa.

It previously applied only to city facilities.

"Moving forward, there are to be no groups in any facilities or elsewhere in Tulsa of 10 or more people, and that will be enforced by the Tulsa police department," Bynum said.

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