Local & Regional

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The city of Broken Arrow's share of COVID-19 cases relative to the Tulsa County total is increasing, a trend possibly related to its lack of a mask mandate, according to the Tulsa Health Department.

At a Thursday press conference at Tulsa Police headquarters, Dr. Bruce Dart, the health department's director, described the trend.

Food and Drug Administration

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 746 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 50,669.

Oklahoma's total number of cases has nearly doubled in the past month. There were 25,433 confirmed cases on July 20. The state broke 10,000 cases on June 20.

Tulsa County had 110 of Thursday's cases. Its total now stands at 11,873, second-most in the state behind Oklahoma County's 12,037.

American Airlines

American Airlines will drop flights to 15 smaller U.S. cities in October when a federal requirement to serve those communities ends.

The airline blamed low demand during the coronavirus pandemic, which has triggered a massive slump in air travel. Airlines and their labor unions are seeking billions in taxpayer relief.

American said its schedule covering Oct. 7 through Nov. 3 will drop flights to cities including Stillwater, Oklahoma; New Haven, Connecticut; and Springfield, Illinois.

Thursday's top stories:

  • 128 residents at the Claremore Veterans Center have tested positive for COVID-19. 35 have died.
  • Experts say local-level mask mandates in Oklahoma have been effective in reducing the rate of transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Two weeks ago, members of the Tulsa City Council voted to postpone a decision on what action, if any, to take regarding the "BLACK LIVES MATTER" street mural painted in the days leading up to Juneteenth and President Trump's controversial rally in Tulsa. 

On Wednesday afternoon, they again reached no consensus, leaving the matter for a future meeting.

File photo

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved Oklahoma for a $300 weekly unemployment benefit to people left jobless because of the coronavirus.

FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor says Oklahoma becomes the ninth state to be approved for the program announced earlier this month by President Donald Trump.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday that he had applied for inclusion into the program for the unemployed who are receiving at least $100 in state unemployment benefits.

DVIS

Statistics in Tulsa support the notion that the incidence of domestic violence is up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services reported a 22% increase in crisis line calls the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2019, and Tulsa Police handled 192 more domestic violence calls from January through July 2020 than in the same span of 2019.

John Lew / TU Sports Information

In a year in which the University of Tulsa’s president stepped down, its athletics director is now moving on as well.

TU Vice President and Director of Athletics Derrick Gragg is leaving Sept. 17 to become senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement at the NCAA. Gragg, who is one of the nation’s few Black college athletics administrators, said the brand-new position is one he would have considered at any point during his career.

Roland Leach / U.S. Air Force

An analysis by a Tulsa-based health information exchange found mask requirements are working to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. David Kendrick, the CEO of MyHealth Access Network, said they looked at seven-day averages of positive test rates in places with mask requirements versus the rest of the state and compared them at a week, two weeks and three weeks.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 17 new deaths from COVID-19 in the state.

Since March 18, 699 Oklahomans have died from the illness.

Four deaths happened in the past 24 hours. Two adults between 50 and 64 years old died. The other 15 were 65 or older. 

Two deaths were in Tulsa County, which now has 122 total. Three were in Oklahoma County, which leads the state with 135.

Facebook / Claremore Veterans Center

(This story was updated at 5:20 p.m. to correct the name of the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.)

The outbreak of COVID-19 at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs center in Claremore has grown since first being announced by the agency in July. 

According to Shane Faulkner, ODVA's public information officer, 128 residents are now confirmed to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday. 35 of those residents have died.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • More COVID-19 cases at local school districts, as teachers and staff at Jenks and Bartlesville Public Schools test positive. Union and Broken Arrow have both also had outbreaks. 
  • The Tulsa County Election Board says voters shouldn't worry about fraud or postal woes when it comes to voting absentee in next week's election.

Wikipedia

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is suspending policies blamed for mail delays until after the November election.

That announcement came Tuesday as Oklahoma’s lone Democrat in Congress, Rep. Kendra Horn, gave a news conference alongside members of the National Association of Letter Carriers on measures needed to save the United States Postal Service. Horn said the postponed changes don’t mean Congress is off the hook.

File Photo-OU

A prominent industry analyst is not forecasting a permanent decrease in demand for oil after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strategic Energy and Economic Research President Mike Lynch said during an Oil and Gas Journal webcast while many people are working from home or out of work now, he doesn't expect that or decreased travel to continue.

File photo

The latest search for two Green Country teenagers missing since December 1999 ended in more disappointment.

Investigators on Tuesday dug out a root cellar near a burned-down home in Picher, looking for the remains of Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible. They did not find anything there.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With President Donald Trump openly admitting to an attempt to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from handling the surge in mail-in ballots it expects due to the pandemic, as well as claiming that voting by mail allows for rampant fraud, the secretary of the Tulsa County Election Board said Tuesday that the body is confident in both the security of ballots for next week's mayoral election and the ability of local postal workers to deliver them on time. 

Updated Aug. 19, 5:45 p.m. to correct state's seven-day average.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 17 new deaths from COVID-19. Since March 18, 682 Oklahomans have died from the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Four deaths were in Tulsa County, which has now seen 120 residents die from COVID-19, the second-highest total in the state. Oklahoma County leads the state with 132 deaths.

More information on the deaths was not immediately available due to technical issues at the state health department.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The head of the Tulsa Health Department says threats have been made against his life as a result of public health recommendations he's made over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday's top stories:

  • Some public health officials and experts are worried that Oklahoma's tentative decline in COVID-19 infection rates could be reversed as schools and colleges welcome back students. OU, OSU, TU and K-12 schools across Oklahoma have all experienced outbreaks this month.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma election officials will print new green absentee ballot return envelopes to help postal workers more easily identify mail-in ballots ahead of November’s election.

The Oklahoma Election Board announced the change after being notified by federal postal officials that the state’s mail-in voting deadlines are “incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards.”

Twitter / @OKState

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Women living at an off-campus sorority house at Oklahoma State University have been placed in isolation and are prohibited from leaving the house after 23 of them tested positive for COVID-19, university officials confirmed on Monday.

Wikimedia

A board recommended on Monday less stringent changes to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program than some of the dozens initially proposed.

One rule would have required labels on edibles to include a list of not only ingredients, but also any pesticides and chemicals used to grow and process the product’s marijuana extract.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority Food Safety Standards Board member Travis Splawn said that could be helpful.

Google Street View

Bixby Public Schools started the school year on Monday with only half its students in buildings at a time — and with half a dozen teachers out due to the coronavirus.

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission

Gov. Kevin Stitt has asked the federal government to provide an additional $300 in unemployment benefits for out-of-work Oklahomans.

The governor’s office submitted a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If approved, Stitt said FEMA will fund the $300 per week benefit, and Oklahoma will fulfill the 25% state match through existing unemployment benefits.

University of Tulsa Football

The University of Tulsa pauses football practices until further notice after eight players test positive for COVID-19.

The university’s athletics department said those eight players are in isolation and so far have not shown symptoms of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Another eight players that came into direct contact with the eight infected athletes will quarantine for 14 days.

Twitter / @UofOklahoma

A sorority house at Oklahoma State. The Sooners football team. The faculty and staff of Broken Arrow Public Schools.

All have been sites of recent coronavirus outbreak "clusters." As more districts and universities bring students back to school buildings and campuses, epidemiologists and other public health experts are worrying that Oklahoma's trends in new infections, which have been slowly tacking downward in recent days, could change course.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Preservation should be a main goal as the City of Tulsa considers Route 66 projects, according to a recently completed survey for a new master plan.

Nearly three in four responses picked incentives for neon signs, facade improvements and building rehab assistance as a top priority for revitalizing Tulsa’s stretches of the historic highway.

Roughly the same proportion of respondents said 11th Street from Peoria to Yale should be the top target area.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Monday 369 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 48,711.

Tulsa County had 68 of those cases, and its total now stands at 11,443. That's second to Oklahoma County's 11,715 cases.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, dropped from 682 to 678. The rolling average hit its lowest level in a month on Friday before rising slightly over the weekend.

Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill / U.S. Army

There are still some wrinkles to iron out when it comes to school meals as Oklahoma students prepare to head back — or, in some cases, already have returned to learning.

Districts across the state are offering a variety of options, including entirely virtual attendance, either because officials are offering it for families not comfortable sending their kids to school or because they don’t believe it’s the right time for any students to return in person. The federal government has not advised whether schools must feed virtual students.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

It was an exclusive meeting.

After abundant anticipation of a visit to Oklahoma by Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House coronavirus task force since President Trump announced it earlier this month, at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa on Sunday, she was kept separated from the public, the media, and even the director of the Tulsa Health Department.

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