Local & Regional

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is now tracking people who catch COVID a second time. 

 

OSDH considers a case a reinfection if it comes at least 90 days after the first one. 

 

The latest state epidemiology report shows the coronavirus has reinfected almost 4,700 vaccinated and unvaccinated Oklahomans so far this month, and reinfections have risen more than 300% since May. 

 

Dr. Jennifer Clark who is part of OSU’s Project ECHO says the Delta variant is responsible for the big rise in repeat cases.

 

Tulsans will have the chance to weigh in on six city council redistricting proposals.

The city election district commission looked at five maps Friday, which reassigned between 12 and 30 voting precincts to new council districts, moving from as little as 6% of the city’s population, or 25,693 people, to as much as 15%, or 61,483 people.

Commission member John Eagleton pushed for a sixth option not initially presented at a Friday meeting to go to the public as well. It reassigns 11 precincts and less than 6% of residents.

Mike Simons / Pool photo

Following guidance on COVID-19 vaccine booster shots issued on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tulsa Health Department announced it would begin administering them immediately.

The CDC and Food and Drug Administration's recommendation said those 65 and older and people 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions should get a third shot of the Pfizer COVID vaccine six months after their second dose.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA

A Muskogee man accused of being part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol during the pro-Trump insurrection on Jan. 6 pleaded guilty Thursday as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

Andrew Ericson, 24, pleaded guilty to one charge of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Ericson also agreed to pay $500 in restitution for damages to the Capitol. In exchange, further charges were dropped.

Friday's top stories:

• Oklahoma surpassed the 10,000 deaths mark on Thursday for residents killed by COVID-19.

• The city of Tulsa continues to debate how to use remaining American Rescue Plan virus relief funds.

• The first Afghan refugees arrived in Oklahoma this week.

CAIR Oklahoma

The first Afghan refugees arrived in Oklahoma this week, touching down in Oklahoma City late Wednesday.

"We are exceedingly proud to welcome some new neighbors!" Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the refugee resettlement agency, wrote on social media following the arrival of the family of seven.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A coalition of local organizations told city councilors they want to see transparency and community engagement as Tulsa spends its allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act over the next two years.

ACTION Tulsa Project Organizer Christy Emig said the $88 million the city is receiving from the coronavirus relief package represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the lives of Tulsans who are worse off just because of where they were born or the color of their skin.

10,000 Oklahomans Now Dead From COVID-19

Sep 23, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than 10,000 Oklahomans have now died from COVID-19 and the number of ICU patients statewide has grown, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported 10,025 deaths based on death certificates as of Thursday, a one-day increase of 42. By the CDC's count, COVID has killed one in every 395 Oklahomans.

Thursday's top stories:

• Some health experts say COVID-19 is unlikely to spike again this winter, though a former Oklahoma state epidemiologist says not to rule out the possibility.

• Pediatricians say it appears the delta variant of COVID-19 is infecting more teenagers but not necessarily sickening them more severely.

• Analysts say the early end to enhanced federal unemployment benefits in Oklahoma likely did not have an impact on the state's labor force participation rate.

Oklahoma Policy Institute

Analysts with the Oklahoma Policy Institute told state lawmakers Tuesday that Gov. Kevin Stitt's early termination of enhanced federal unemployment payments meant to help individuals weather the COVID-19 pandemic likely had little, if any, effect on improving workforce participation.

COVID Deaths Peak As Cases Decline

Sep 22, 2021

Despite fears that Labor Day activities would cause more spikes in COVID cases, they’re continuing to fall. 

 

Dr. Jennifer Clark is part of OSU’s Project ECHO. At a Wednesday update to healthcare providers, she said there was a rise in cases after Labor Day but the upswing petered out.

 

“The trend has been up and we’ve had this kind of small double hump if you will. There was concern with that second bump that it was actually going to be a bigger spike. But fortunately, keep our fingers crossed, things have started to come down.”

 

City Lights Foundation

The City of Tulsa plans on spending another $885,000 from its share of federal coronavirus relief funds to help keep open awhile longer a hotel nonprofits are using to house people experiencing homelessness.

City Lights Foundation is running the hotel, which includes rooms where COVID-positive people can quarantine. People also stay there while organizations work to get them into permanent housing.

Courtesy

A nonprofit working with Tulsa Public Schools to expand access to after-school programs is urging organizations to apply for funding ahead of a Friday deadline.

The Opportunity Project is helping TPS administer federal virus relief funding it was awarded for an expanded learning initiative. They’re trying to bring learning experiences to thousands of students outside the classrooms, and organizations offering a wide range of programs can apply.

Wednesday's top stories:

• The Oklahoma City Thunder will allow fans at home games this summer, but attendees will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or results of a negative test within the 72 hours before the game.

• University of Oklahoma students, staff and faculty protested Tuesday over what they say are inadequate steps being taken by the administration to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Oklahoma City Thunder Announce COVID Requirement For Fans

Sep 22, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Fans of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder will be required to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative coronavirus test to attend games in person, the team announced Tuesday.

“As we continue to face serious health challenges from COVID-19, we must remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our community,” Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett said.

Oct. 28 could be the date for Oklahoma’s first execution in years. 

 

60-year-old John Marion Grant is the first of seven men in line to be executed. Grant was sentenced to death for the 1998 stabbing and killing of 58-year-old Dick Conner Correctional Center employee Gay Carter.

 

Sarah Jernigan, the assistant federal public defender for western Oklahoma, said she hopes Grant’s clemency hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. on Oct. 5 in front of Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole board will go her client’s way. 

 

Courtesy

Updated Sept. 23, 12:03 p.m. with new project renderings.  

A real estate deal that would bring a full-service grocery store to downtown Tulsa appears back on track. 

The Performing Arts Center Trust has voted to approve a $5.5 million sale of a parking lot at Third Street and Cincinnati Avenue to Indiana-based Flaherty & Collins. The developer envisions a mixed-use project dubbed The Annex, anchored by a 20,000-square foot grocery store.

Muscogee Nation Department of Health

The Muscogee Nation's new Tulsa hospital is now offering monoclonal antibody treatment, an outpatient procedure meant to help prevent individuals with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 from requiring hospitalization.

“Research is showing monoclonal antibody infusions are extremely effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms from worsening,” said Shawn Terry, Secretary of Health for the Muscogee Nation, in a statement.  “It is our hope this regional infusion center will help alleviate the current strain on our hospitals by preventing additional severe cases of COVID-19."

Tuesday's top stories:

• Federal regulators could be close to approving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

• Oklahoma has set execution dates for seven inmates, including Julius Jones, with the first scheduled for October. The killings would be the state's first since a series of botched executions in 2014 and 2015.

• The new BMX national headquarters and stadium in Tulsa are on-track for a January move-in.

File Photo

Oklahoma is among just 13 states that still levy a sales tax on groceries, but there appears to be some agreement on addressing that.

Lawmakers, policy analysts and the Oklahoma Municipal League expressed interest during an interim study in altering a state tax credit established in 1990 to help offset the cost of groceries for low-income families.

Holberton Tulsa

The first cohort of 17 students has graduated from Holberton Tulsa, a tuition-deferred software development school.

They started the 20-month program in January 2020 and continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, earning certificates in options like machine learning or augmented and virtual reality. Holberton Tulsa Executive Director Libby Ediger said almost half of their first group of students secured a job before graduation, and all but one of those jobs was in the Tulsa area.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

USA BMX says their new national headquarters and stadium in Tulsa are schedule for a January move-in date.

The $23 million total project is about 70% complete now, with main structures in place at the former Evans Fintube industrial site. USA BMX President and Chairman Shane Fernandez said they’ve stayed on schedule despite the challenges that come with remediating a polluted site, finding new obstacles like undocumented oil and gas lines, and being mindful of historic preservation needs in what was first part of Black Wall Street before the Tulsa Race Massacre.

DOC

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals set new execution dates Monday for seven death row prisoners, including Julius Jones, who was recommended for commutation last week.

The court set John Grant's execution for Oct. 28, Jones' for Nov. 18, Bigler Stoufer's for Dec. 9, Wade Lay for Jan. 6, Donald Grant's for Jan. 27, Gilbert Postelle's for Feb. 17 and James Coddington's for March 10.

Farmer and rancher Dan Ripley got a surprise recently. 

“We saw these pigs, we saw these pigs actually with the cattle!” 

 

He said he hated to see it.

 

“But the cattle were fine. They were just lying out there and the pigs were just lying right out there among ‘em.” 

 

Wild pigs are a problem in Pawnee, Oklahoma. They can carry over 30 diseases, and one year they destroyed 240 acres of Ripley’s corn crop.

 

“They went right down the row, picking out that - back then it was about $100 a bag corn seed - and eating it.”

Mike Simons / Tulsa World pool photo

While federal officials continue debating who should receive COVID booster shots, Oklahoma health officials say they are ready to give them as soon as the green light is given.

An FDA advisory panel last week recommended third Pfizer shots for Americans 65 and up, six months after their second doses, but it was overwhelmingly against boosters for younger people because of a lack of data indicating a strong benefit. The same panel may also recommend the boosters for people at higher risk of infection because of their jobs, like health care providers and teachers.

Lance Cpl. Natalie Greenwood / U.S. Marine Corps

Efforts are ramping up to once again provide free, widespread COVID-19 testing in Oklahoma.

The number of tests performed statewide has steadily increased since mid-July during a sharp rise in cases, but many public and private testing sites closed in the weeks after Oklahoma came out of a winter surge because of low demand. 

Courtesy

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The remains of a U.S. Army soldier killed during the Korean War have been identified as an Oklahoma native, according to the U.S. Army.

The remains are those of Sgt. Billy Rodgers of Panama, Oklahoma, who was 19 when he disappeared on Dec. 2., 1950.

Rodgers was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, which was attacked near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.

Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma

The head of the nonprofit responsible for helping resettle roughly 800 Afghan refugees in the Tulsa area said Wednesday that the State Department has advised their arrivals will be delayed by roughly three weeks due to cases of measles.

Tulsa Football

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson’s big day put him amid elite company in the Ohio State record book, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for his decidedly off-kilter team.

Henderson, in his third game, broke Archie Griffin’s 49-year-old freshman rushing record, romping for 277 yards and three touchdowns as No. 9 Ohio State struggled with Tulsa and then managed to pull away late for a 41-20 win on Saturday.

Monday's top stories:

  • State and local officials work to increase access to COVID testing.
  • Oklahoma health officials say they're ready to start giving booster shots when federal agencies give the word.
  • A nearly two-year resurfacing project begins on the east leg of the Inner Dispersal Loop.

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