Oklahoma State Department of Health

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

(This story was updated at 5:25 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 16, to add a response from Derek Pate, Director of the Center for Health Statistics at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.)

The Tulsa Health Department said Thursday it would be making changes to the way it reports COVID-19 hospitalizations after determining the Oklahoma State Department of Health data it previously relied on was inaccurate.

Youtube / Oklahoma State Department of Health

Republican and Democratic state lawmakers are both expressing concern over Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt's announcement last week that the state's public health lab will be moved from Oklahoma City to Stillwater, using a combination of state funds and federal coronavirus relief funding.

In a Monday press release, Rep. Ryan Martinez (R-Edmond) said he would be filing legislation to keep the lab in the state capital and "question[ed] if this is the best use of CARES Act funds."

Reached by phone Wednesday, Martinez said he first heard about the plan on the news.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Over seven months into Oklahoma's experience with the novel coronavirus, public health researchers say the state is falling far short of adequate levels of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

Courtesy

State officials announce they’re establishing the Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence in Stillwater, and the state’s public health laboratory will move there with it.

The center’s focus will be bringing together state and tribal, public and private, and urban and rural resources so researchers can get ahead of the next potential infectious disease outbreak.

Pixnio

State health officials believe they’re on their way to getting Oklahoma’s COVID vaccine plan approved by the federal government.

"The CDC was here just a few days ago, and they told us that we will probably be the first state in the nation to go green with their vaccination plan because we’re very close to finishing that up," Interim State Health Commissioner Lance Frye told the State Board of Health on Tuesday.

Frye said they’ve been told at least one vaccine will be ready sometime after Nov. 1.

Flickr User Noel Reynolds, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The discovery of a second rabid bat in two months in Chandler has spurred the Oklahoma State Department of Health to issue a release reminding Oklahomans of the dangers of rabies and the importance of vaccinations.

“Oklahoma is seeing more cases of rabies in the state this year than previous years,” said State Public Health Veterinarian LeMac’ Morris, in a statement. “With more sightings of skunks and bats, this is the perfect time to remind pet owners about the importance of vaccinating family pets, and even livestock.”

Governor's office

Gov. Kevin Stitt has been nothing if not consistent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: a statewide mask mandate is not on the table for Oklahoma.

"Mandating something statewide is something that we just don't believe in, or I personally don't believe in," Stitt said Tuesday at a press conference in Stillwater.

In recent weeks, Stitt and his cabinet have begun more frequently acknowledging that mask mandates have been effective when implemented by local governments, but that it should be a decision made on the community level.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Gov. Kevin Stitt has consistently opposed mandating masks on a statewide level to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, citing issues of individual freedom, but on Thursday he said he does believe that local-level mask mandates throughout Oklahoma are at least partially responsible for a recent downward trend in new infections.

Facebook / Tuttle Care Center

The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps, a medical and public health volunteer system that is part of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, put out an "urgent weekend request" for nurses and nursing assistants due to an "outbreak" at a long-term care facility in the Grady County city of Tuttle. 

Department of Defense

Officials at the state health department said they are still working to fix technical issues with its COVID public reporting system, but on Tuesday they announced Oklahoma’s total number of cases stands at 27,147.

There were 893 cases were reported Tuesday. State Health Commissioner Lance Frye said the other 821 were in a digital backlog, and some may offset surprisingly low case numbers reported yesterday and Sunday.

Facebook / Gov. Kevin Stitt

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is urging anyone who attended President Donald Trump's Saturday campaign rally or any of several recent protests against racism and police violence to be tested for COVID-19.

"Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is urging Oklahomans who have chosen to attend large-scale gatherings in recent weeks to seek out testing for COVID-19, even if symptoms are not present," a statement released on Sunday reads. It also instructs Oklahomans to be tested prior to attending any future large gatherings.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases jumped by 478 on Sunday to a new record while one additional death was recorded due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday reversed course on its decision from earlier this week to no longer release COVID-19 infection data by city and zip code.

The agency made the move after consulting with Attorney General Mike Hunter, who advised them releasing epidemiological information for statistical purposes is legal as long as no individual person can be identified.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Kevin Stitt’s pick to lead the Oklahoma State Department of Health doesn’t have enough support in the state Senate to secure the job, a key senator said Monday.

Sen. Greg McCortney, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said interim Health Commissioner Gary Cox doesn’t have enough votes to be confirmed, and so his nomination won’t be considered at the committee’s last scheduled meeting Monday afternoon.

The Oklahoman

Gov. Kevin Stitt and Health Commissioner Gary Cox offered a response of sorts Thursday to Attorney General Mike Hunter’s request for an investigative audit of the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s spending.

Stitt said the health department is buying personal protective equipment, ventilators and other supplies for the state’s COVID-19 response on the competitive global market, purchases the state has $1.2 billion in federal funds for.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s top prosecutor on Tuesday requested an investigative audit of the state Health Department over the agency’s spending of state-appropriated funds. 

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Attorney General Mike Hunter’s request was related to the state’s coronavirus response, which the agency is leading.

Governor Kevin Stitt Facebook page

The president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association said Thursday that he is not confident that Governor Kevin Stitt's plan to begin reopening the state's economy on April 24th is a good idea.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

The COVID-19 social distancing and symptom guidelines are provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. For information and updates visit CORONAVIRUS.HEALTH.OK.GOV. You can call the call center at 877-215-8396 or 2-1-1. Visit HERE for the symptom checker.