Local & Regional

White House coronavirus task force

Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, or OSDH, will no longer make publicly available weekly reports for the state prepared by the White House coronavirus task force.

The Center for Public Integrity reported on Dec. 17 that the reports, previously automatically sent each week to all 50 states, are now available only by request.

World Health Organization

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 1,194 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 283,781.

Tulsa County had 165 of Tuesday's cases. Its total now stands at 47,164, second to Oklahoma County's 56,943.

Reporting has been low in recent days, possibly due to a sharp drop in testing over the holidays.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, is now 2,594. The record of 3,535 was set on Christmas Day. Oct. 5 was the last time the seven-day average was below 1,000.

Tulsa City Council

The Tulsa City Council unanimously approved a resolution imploring employers to allow for telework as much as possible due to the ongoing severe risk of contracting COVID-19 locally.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell hit a go-ahead layup with 7 seconds left and finished with 20 points, lifting the Utah Jazz over the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-109 on Monday night.

Tuesday's top stories:

• Oklahoma's Congressional delegation was divided on two key votes Monday, with Rep. Markwayne Mullin not voting on either.

• A satellite office of the Tulsa County Court Clerk will be opening in Broken Arrow's Rose District

CVS Health

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma agricultural research organization announced Monday it will donate 11 ultra-cold freezers to the state that health officials say will help expedite the distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

C-SPAN

Oklahoma's members of the U.S. House of Representatives split Monday night on votes to override President Donald Trump's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act and to support Trump's proposal for $2,000 in direct coronavirus relief payments to Americans.

U.K. Prime Minister's Office

Brexit -- the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union -- could be an opportunity to grow Oklahoma's export economy, according to researchers at Oklahoma State University.

“Oklahoma policymakers and businesses need to be ready to take advantage of this shift,” said Andrew Ranson, director of OSU's Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development (CITD). “Oklahoma can make strong gains in trade if we are ready to capitalize on this opportunity.”

Tulsa Housing Authority

The Tulsa Housing Authority is on to the next stage of its project to remake the Eugene Field neighborhood.

Construction has begun on the more than 70 townhome and garden-style walk up units in phase two of River West, the name of the more than $200 million Choice Neighborhoods project in the area of Southwest Boulevard and 21st Street. About half will be replacement units for residents of THA’s Riverview Park and Brightwaters apartments, which are being demolished, with the rest a mix of tax credit and market-rate units.

Rose District

Broken Arrow’s Rose District will be the home of a satellite office for the Tulsa County Court Clerk.

The office will process civil filings and should be up and running by February.

City of Broken Arrow Economic Development Manager Norm Stephens said the idea stemmed from a plan to market the Rose District as a one-stop wedding destination in order to help businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Monday 3,448 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 282,587.

Tulsa County had 632 of Monday's cases. Its total now stands at 46,999, second to Oklahoma County's 56,748.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

While the city of Tulsa's search for the remains of victims from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has been celebrated by many, some members of the investigation's public oversight committee are questioning the pace and focus of the endeavor.

At a Dec. 17 meeting held virtually, members of the efforts' physical investigation committee gave a presentation on their findings so far, including the discovery of a mass grave at a site in Oaklawn Cemetery where victims are said to have been buried following the racist attack. 

Oklahoma Senate GOP

Leaders in the Oklahoma legislature must plan for a second session affected by COVID-19, this one with infection rates potentially much worse than they were as lawmakers met from March through May of this year.

Legislative leaders are contemplating how to do their work safely. Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) said during a virtual forum hosted by the Oklahoma State Chamber that includes allowing Oklahomans to participate in the process.

Monday's top stories:

• Local health care system leaders are predicting another post-holiday surge in COVID-19 infections in the coming weeks.

• Oklahoma is declining new vaccine priority recommendations from the CDC.

American Academy of Pediatrics

With vaccinations in the phase two priority group potentially starting this week, Oklahoma will not adopt new COVID vaccine priority recommendations from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory group.

Last week, the CDC recommended putting frontline essential workers and adults 75 or older next in line after medical personnel caring for COVID patients and nursing home residents and staff.

Tulsa Regional Chamber

Local health system leaders predict the Christmas and New Years holidays will trigger another spike in COVID-19 infections, atop the current surge likely linked to Thanksgiving.

Cherokee Nation

As Monica Harvey watched, crowds flocked to a Sam’s Club in northern Arizona where she works, picking shelves clean of toilet paper and canned goods. Native American seniors couldn’t move fast enough, and Harvey saw their faces fall when they reached empty shelves.

The Navajo woman wanted to help tribal elders get household staples without leaving their homes and risking exposure to COVID-19, so she started Defend Our Community, a group that delivers supplies.

Twitter / @oescnews

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package, ending days of drama over his refusal to accept the bipartisan deal that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a federal government shutdown.

The massive bill includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as an increase in food stamp benefits.

Community Food Bank

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday $6 million from the state’s federal coronavirus relief funding will go toward helping food banks across the state restock.

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will distribute food purchased with the funds to partners in their areas.

World Health Organization

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 3,656 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 269,276.

Tulsa County had 385 of Wednesday's cases. Its total now stands at 44,818, second to Oklahoma County's 54,519.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, hit a new high, jumping from 3,376 to 3,435. The previous record of 3,387 was set the day after Thanksgiving. Oct. 5 was the last time the seven-day average was below 1,000.

FWD.us / Terence Crutcher Foundation

A new report from a pair of criminal justice advocacy group says the state of Oklahoma has disproportionately imprisoned Black residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new report finds Oklahoma families are experiencing several pain points during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With lost wages, closed schools and lack of child care, the KIDS COUNT report based on Census Bureau data found 40% of Oklahoma adults with kids said they’re having trouble paying for usual household expenses. More than 30% worry about eviction or foreclosure in the coming months.

Nearly 20% are without health insurance, and 13% say they don’t always have enough to eat.

CVS Health

Oklahomans in phase two of the state’s COVID vaccination plan may start getting their shots before the end of the year.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said with two vaccines being shipped now, estimates for how many doses Oklahoma will receive are up, and the state has entered a new stage of fighting the pandemic.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • Health officials think Oklahoma can move to phase two of its vaccination plan as soon as next week.
  • Tulsa County sets another new high in its seven-day average of new COVID cases.
  • One member of Oklahoma's congressional delegation voted against the virus relief and spending bills: Rep. Markwayne Mullin.

Several Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate are urging Oklahoma’s congressional delegation to challenge certification of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.

In letters they say were sent to Oklahoma’s U.S. senators and representatives on Tuesday, 24 House and 15 Senate Republicans say election law changes and violations intended to skew the election and illegal votes in swing states are disenfranchising Oklahoma voters. No evidence has been produced to support such claims.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Updated Dec. 22, 1:24 p.m.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 2,186 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 265,620.

Tulsa County had 333 of Tuesday's cases. Its total now stands at 44,433, second to Oklahoma County's 54,067.

Governor's office

The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine reached an Oklahoma nursing home on Tuesday.

CVS Health gave doses to residents and staff of The Lodge at Brookline in Oklahoma City under a partnership with the federal government that will see them serve 176 long-term care facilities in the state. The first shots were given to 89-year-old resident Frances Watland and registered nurse Pam Byers.

Moderna

Doses of the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved are now being distributed across Oklahoma.

The state received 66,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday. It doesn’t need to be kept nearly as cold during shipping as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that arrived last week, and Moderna says it will remain stable at standard refrigerator temperatures up to 30 days.

Oklahoma Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said that changes distribution plans a little bit.

Oklahoma educators responding to a survey said they’re worried about their students' academic progress and well-being, worried about their health, and worried the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.

Most of the more than 3,100 responses to the Oklahoma Education Association’s pandemic survey came from classroom teachers on the job more than five years. Just 4% believed the worst of the pandemic is behind them.

Tuesday's top stories:

  • In a new survey, Oklahoma educators express concerns about the pandemic, their students and going back to their classrooms.
  • The state and Tulsa County hit new active COVID-19 case totals for a second straight day, and Tulsa County's seven-day average reaches 600.

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