Coronavirus In Oklahoma: The Latest

KOSU is continuing to cover the developing story around coronavirus in Oklahoma. Bookmark this page for the latest updates.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter to get daily updates.

The journalists at KOSU are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. If you find this work valuable, please consider supporting us with a financial gift. Here's how.

Here are a few more posts you may be interested in:

Live coronavirus updates:

Two New Deaths, 397 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 10 at 11:51 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 397 on Monday. That's less than a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 43,963.

Two new deaths were reported, bringing the state's death toll to 605. They are as follows:

  • Two in Jackson County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group and one female in the 65 or older age group.

*Note: weekend reporting of cases and deaths is typically very low compared to weekdays.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,361 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 766 per day.

36,378 people — more than 82 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 6,980 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,623, followed by Tulsa County with 1,504, Cleveland County with 338, Rogers County with 237, Canadian County with 176, Pittsburg County with 168, Cherokee County with 164, Wagoner County with 146, LeFlore County with 135, Garfield County with 130, Creek County has 125, Muskogee County has 124, Sequoyah County with 111, Pottawatomie County with 101 and Payne County with 100.

Agricultural Festivals Cancelled In Oklahoma, As Rural Towns Anticipate Economic Hit

Updated August 10 at 5:15 a.m.

COVID-19 is causing organizers of annual agricultural festivals in Oklahoma to be cancelled, and some think it will have an adverse effect on the economies of the rural towns that host them.

Events like the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival typically welcomes 20,000 visitors and serves 50,000 pounds of the state’s official vegetable every August. But like many festivals and agritourism events around the state, it’s been cancelled due COVID-19.

“I don't know what kind of economic impact it will really have yet, but it'll definitely have some because it'll sure hurt our business,” Joel Tumbleson, a watermelon farmer in the area, said. “We have a fruit stand and we have a lot of visitors and a lot of people buying watermelon and cantaloupe that day.”

Mary Hill, the chair of the festival, said this is the first time the event has not happened since World War II. She said the festival’s cancellation will also affect the school, which has organizations that fundraise during the festival.

Other towns in Oklahoma that are traditionally hosts to festivals have also cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Alan Parnell, chairman of the Porter Peach Festival, said the festival was cancelled because the event is too large to socially distance and prevent the spread of the virus.

“We bring 10,000 people into a two-block area,” Parnell said.

The Stilwell Strawberry Festival originally delayed its event to September, but recently cancelled after the Stillwell City Council rescinded the event’s permit. Several of the festival's events instead took place online, including strawberry judging and auction which occurred in May.

No New Deaths, 486 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 9 at 7:44 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 486 on Sunday. That's a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 43,566.

No new deaths were reported, as the state's death toll remains at 603.

*Note: weekend reporting of cases and deaths is typically very low compared to weekdays.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,341 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 763 per day.

Three New Deaths, 825 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 8 at 6:33 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 825 on Saturday, representing nearly a two percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 43,080.

Three new deaths were reported, bringing the state's death toll to 603. Further details were not released.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,349 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 764 per day.

594 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

Oklahoma Deaths From COVID-19 Reach 600

Updated August 7 at 11:21 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported seven new deaths on Friday, bringing the state's total to 600. They are as follows:

  • Three in Oklahoma County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group and one female and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Creek County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Okfuskee County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Stephens County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Tulsa County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 854 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a two percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 42,255.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,768 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 824 per day.

35,001 people — more than 82 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 561 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 6,654 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,562, followed by Tulsa County with 1,409, Cleveland County with 346, Rogers County with 223, Canadian County with 173, Wagoner County with 144, Pittsburg County with 142, Cherokee County with 136, Muskogee County with 129, Creek County with 127, LeFlore County with 116, Sequoyah County with 112 and Garfield County with 102.

Gov. Stitt: Oklahoma Doesn't Need Another Stimulus Package

Updated August 6 at 3:58 p.m.

Congress is currently hashing out a second coronavirus relief package and President Donald Trump said that if the fight drags on, he’s considering bypassing Congress to authorize support programs through executive order.

But, during a coronavirus update on Thursday, Governor Kevin Stitt said he believes Oklahoma doesn't need one.

"I don’t think we need another stimulus package, no," Stitt said. "We’ve told our federal delegation, we’ve told the White House that."

Congress passed The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act in March. It contained more than $2 trillion in spending, about $1 billion of it going to Oklahoma.

The governor has made several announcements about programs that funding supported in recent weeks. Most recently, a $250 million support program for Oklahoma’s cities and towns, announced Thursday. But there are still millions of dollars to be designated.

"We have not even got our $1.2 billion that we've been allocated so far in Oklahoma — we haven’t got it out," Stitt said. "Our message back to the White House was before we go to the well and do another $2 trillion bailout, let’s make sure and get these monies out the door first."

Oklahoma Health Officials To Parents: Don't Forget Routine Vaccinations

Updated August 6 at 1:47 p.m.

As the world awaits a COVID-19 vaccine, Oklahoma health officials are urging parents to remember routine vaccinations as well.

Routine vaccines can prevent a host of infections, including measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis and polio. However, amid the pandemic, local officials are seeing fewer children get those vaccines.

"Normally, between April and July, the department would have seen about 5,400 clients," said Ellen Niemitalo, Tulsa Health Department’s manager of clinic services.

Niemitalo said this year, they’ve seen fewer than 1,300.

In normal times, Tulsa Health Department partners with the Caring Foundation to offer mobile vaccine sites, in what they call "caring vans." Because of the pandemic, that service was suspended through much of the spring and summer. It’s picking back up this month.

Some parents might be worried about coming to the health department or going to the doctor during a pandemic. Delays in school start dates might also be having an effect. The state requires a round of vaccines before kindergarten and before 7th grade.

"Parents who are needing to get their vaccines for school tend to do it right before school starts," Niematilo said.

With start dates in the air and questions lingering about how school will look this year, many parents might be waiting.

10 New Deaths, 837 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 6 at 11:54 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported ten new deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's total to 593. They are as follows:

  • Two in Tulsa County, one female and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Canadian County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cleveland County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Garfield County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Marshall County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Oklahoma County, one female in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Ottawa County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Pottawatomie County, one female in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Wagoner County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 837 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a two percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 41,401.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,661 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 809 per day.

34,320 people — more than 82 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 643 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 6,488 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,554, followed by Tulsa County with 1,407, Cleveland County with 359, Rogers County with 214, Canadian County with 176, Cherokee County with 138, Muskogee County has 134, Wagoner County with 132, LeFlore County with 122, Creek County has 107, Sequoyah County with 106 and Pottawatomie County with 100.

Can You Get Infected With The Coronavirus Twice?

Updated August 6 at 10:44 a.m.

People who think they have recovered from COVID-19 have seen positive test results and worried that they’re infected a second time. But local medical researchers say that's unlikely, at least in the short term.

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s president, Dr. Stephen Prescott, says it seems more probable that people who get symptoms again just still have the virus. They're not getting infected a second time. COVID-patients typically get follow-up tests, and false negatives can lead them to believe they’ve recovered before testing positive again.

OMRF says to date, researchers have not documented any proven cases of re-infection.

Some Oklahoma Casinos Ban Smoking Due To COVID-19

Updated August 6 at 4:27 a.m.

Some casinos in Oklahoma are issuing a prohibition on smoking and vaping in response to COVID-19.

The Cherokee and Comanche Tribes are putting up the temporary ban along with mask requirements at their entertainment establishments.

The recent announcement drew praise from the American Lung Association saying it will help protect customers and workers from second hand smoke and e-cigarette emissions.

The Chickasaw Nation has not eliminated smoking at its casinos, but has established additional nonsmoking areas.

Two Oklahoma Marathons Go Virtual For 2020

Updated August 5 at 5:23 p.m.

Two major marathons in Oklahoma will go virtual this fall.

The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and The Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa made their announcements on Wednesday.

The Oklahoma City marathon normally takes place in April, but was postponed until October due to COVID-19. But now race organizers say with rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state, that it would impossible to bring tens of thousands of runners together.

"We just cannot responsibly organize a race of 25,000 runners on the streets of Oklahoma City," said Kari Watkins, Race Director, Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. "If there was a way either one of us could have run the race in person, trust us we would have done it."

Other major marathons across the United States, such as the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon previously announced virtual races.

Registered runners for both events can choose to participate in the virtual events or defer their registration to next year's event.

17 New Deaths, 1,101 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 5 at 11:18 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 17 new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 583. They are as follows:

  • Six in Oklahoma County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group. Three females and two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Caddo County, one female and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Cleveland County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in McCurtain County, two females in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Tulsa County, two females in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Grady County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Kay County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Payne County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 1,101 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's nearly a three peercent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 40,564.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,941 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 849 per day.

33,383 people — more than 82 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 645 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 6,598 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,601, followed by Tulsa County with 1,414, Cleveland County with 395, Rogers County with 217, Canadian County with 186, Cherokee County with 154, Muskogee County has 143, Wagoner County with 132, LeFlore County with 111 and Sequoyah County with 101.

Oklahoma County Jail Inmate Dies After Testing Positive For COVID-19

Updated August 4 at 4:15 p.m.

A 64-year-old man awaiting trial on drug and gun charges in the Oklahoma County Jail died on Tuesday after being transferred to a hospital and testing positive for COVID-19.

Clarence Merrell had been diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses including COPD. Jail staff say he was transferred to the jail’s medical unit the day he entered the jail because he’d been having trouble breathing.

Jail administrator Greg Williams says Merrell was eventually sent to the hospital where he tested positive for COVID-19.

The exact cause of Merrell’s death has yet to be determined.

The Oklahoma County Jail is experiencing a COVID outbreak. As of Friday, 44 prisoners had tested positive for the disease. The county’s jail trust says it’s working to test more prisoners.

15 New Deaths, 861 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 4 at 11:29 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 15 new deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state's total to 566. They are as follows:

  • Four in Oklahoma County, three males and one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Cleveland County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group and one male and one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Rogers County, one female in the 50 - 64 age group and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Adair County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Canadian County, one female in the 18 - 35 age group.
  • One in Carter County, one female in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Cherokee County, one male in the 18 - 35 age group.
  • One in Jackson County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in McCurtain County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 861 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a two and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 39,463.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,688 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 813 per day.

32,319 people — more than 81 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 504 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 6,578 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,585, followed by Tulsa County with 1,307, Cleveland County with 408, Rogers County with 214, Canadian County with 192, Cherokee County with 148, Muskogee County has 135, Wagoner County with 126, Pottawatomie County with 117, LeFlore County with 111, Caddo County with 106, Sequoyah County with 105 and Okmulgee County with 101.

Oklahoma State University Homecoming Celebration Postponed

Updated August 3 at 4:26 p.m.

Oklahoma State University’s annual homecoming celebration is yet another casualty of the coronavirus.

The OSU Alumni Association announced on Monday that the centennial celebration originally scheduled for October 26th through the 31st will be postponed until fall 2021.

Organizers of the student-run event said they would not be able to monitor capacity or social distancing measures for the tens of thousands of alumni and students that attend them.

“The Alumni Association understands the yearly return to the campus is a highlight for many OSU alumni and fans,” said Tony LoPresto, Alumni Association board chair. “While we understand this decision will disappoint many Cowboys, we want to ensure Homecoming events can be enjoyed in a safe manner and that the centennial celebration is hosted in such a way that is representative of this one-of-a-kind OSU tradition.”

Dubbed as 'America’s Greatest Homecoming,' events include a parade, carnival and chili cook-off and a Walkaround, which showcases large house decorations built by the Greek community and residential halls.

This is the first time OSU’s homecoming has been postponed, although it was combined with other campus events during World War II.

More Oklahoma Districts Starting School Year Online

Updated August 3 at 2:02 p.m.

As the first day of school draws nearer, Oklahoma school districts are rolling out their plans to educate amid a global pandemic. An increasing number of schools are deciding to start offline as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Oklahoma City Public Schools was the first to decide to be online only to start the year, announcing in July that school would be conducted remotely for at least the first nine weeks.

Now, a cascade of other districts are making similar plans, meaning at least 100,000 public school students will start off their school years at home.

Putnam City, Western Heights, Yukon and Norman have all announced intentions to start online.

Tulsa Public Schools’ Board of Education will vote Monday night on a recommendation to start remotely.

The moves online come after Governor Kevin Stitt asked schools to open their doors and offered PPE to help make it happen in a press conference last week.

Many district plans released publicly show that public school districts are also giving a virtual only option to students who fear the health implications of going to school in-person. But smaller districts especially continue to plan for in-person instruction.

One New Death, 377 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 3 at 11:34 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 377 on Monday. That's less than a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 38,602.

One new death was reported, bringing the state's death toll to 551. The death was a male in the 65 or older age group in Pottawatomie County.

*Note: weekend reporting of cases and deaths is typically very low compared to weekdays.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,916 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 845 per day.

31,165 people — more than 80 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 6,886 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,691, followed by Tulsa County with 1,297, Cleveland County with 525, Canadian County with 213, Rogers County with 205, Cherokee County with 156, Muskogee County has 132, Wagoner County with 124, Okmulgee County with 115, Sequoyah County with 114, LeFlore County with 112 and Pottawatomie County with 112.

One New Death, 494 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 2 at 8:51 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 494 on Sunday. That's a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 38,225.

One new death was reported, bringing the state's death toll to 550. Further details were not released.

*Note: weekend reporting of cases and deaths is typically very low compared to weekdays.

Oklahoma has totaled 6,940 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 991 per day.

Eight New Deaths, 1,244 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated August 1 at 8:32 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 1,244 on Saturday, representing the state's second highest daily increase in COVID-19 infections to date. That's nearly a three and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 37,731.

Eight new deaths were reported, bringing the state's death toll to 549. Further details were not released.

Oklahoma has totaled 7,650 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 1,093 per day.

628 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

Five New Deaths, 747 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated July 31 at 12:21 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported five new deaths on Friday, bringing the state's total to 541. They are as follows:

  • Two in Cleveland County, two females in the 36 - 65 or older age group.
  • One in Creek County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Oklahoma County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Rogers County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 747 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a two percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 36,487.

Oklahoma has totaled 7,371 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 1,053 per day.

29,187 people — more than 79 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 621 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 6,759 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,693, followed by Tulsa County with 1,305, Cleveland County with 540, Rogers County with 203, Canadian County with 193, Jackson County with 174, Muskogee County has 117, Cherokee County with 114, Okmulgee County with 113, Wagoner County with 107 and Pottawatomie County with 105.

Chickasaw Nation Head Start, Preschool Delays Start Of In-Person Instruction

Updated July 30 at 5:18 p.m.

The Chickasaw Nation's Head Start program and preschool will have distance learning and virtual instruction for the first nine weeks of the school year.

The nation cited health safety concerns and will affect all four centers in Ada, Ardmore, Sulphur and Tishomingo.

Virtual instruction will begin on August 17. In-person instruction will begin when the community spread of COVID-19 is low enough to ensure the safety of the children.

Oklahoma Will Spend $10 Million On PPE For Schools

Updated July 30 at 5:09 p.m.

With cases of the coronavirus continuing to climb and Oklahoma schools slated to begin next month, Governor Kevin Stitt says he wants kids back in the classroom.

"Schools are an essential part of our society. It is critically important that they operate safely and effectively for all students," Stitt said during a Thursday press conference. "Our kids cannot miss another year of school."

Stitt announced a program to get personal protective equipment (PPE) into schools, using $10 million of the state's federal CARES Act funds.

That will buy enough reusable masks to supply every teacher and student with two each, as well as 42,000 face shields and 1.2 million disposable gloves and hospital gowns. The supplies should be distributed by August 14.

The state also plans to do monthly COVID-19 tests on teachers.

Stitt says ultimately local leaders should decide if it’s safe to have in person instruction during the pandemic. But that every effort must be made to educate in person, despite rising case numbers.

States Look To Federal Coronavirus Funds To Help Meatpackers

Updated July 30 at 12:53 p.m.

Missouri and Oklahoma are both trying to help reduce the supply chain problems in the meat industry seen during the coronavirus pandemic by directing federal grant dollars to meatpacking plants.

Coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants led to shortages and higher prices.

“During COVID-19, our food supply was tested from farm to fork. Farmers and ranchers saw tight livestock supplies on their farms, while consumers saw their choices of certain cuts of meat shrink or go away,” said Chris Chinn, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Some of the money from the federal CARES Act given to both states will be turned into grants for meat processing plants to improve safety and add to capacity.

In Missouri, the funds can be used to reimburse protective equipment purchases or hazard pay for employees.

But the money will also be eligible for expenses that will have longer lasting effects than the current pandemic. Companies can use the grants to pay for new equipment and building expansion that will add capacity and improve safety.

“If we have a future pandemic of other kinds, I think the meatpacking industry is looking at ways to build resiliency even beyond COVID-19,” said Davin Althoff, Business Development Division Director for the MIssouri Department of Agriculture. “We have to look beyond the short term.”

Missouri is putting $20 million toward its assistance for meat processors, with maximum grants of up to $200,000. In Oklahoma, $10 million is earmarked for the program, with a maximum grant of $1 million.

Oklahoma will not use its money for payroll reimbursement or plant expansion, but it can be used to build more freezer space and add to production areas processors use to render carcasses into finished products.

Oklahoma state Senator Casey Murdock says 104 meat processors will be eligible for the grants and the funding will help avoid disruptions in the food supply.

"During this pandemic, Oklahoma saw the shortage of meat in grocery stores. This not only affected urban areas, but it affected rural areas as well. So... this $10 million will go a long way in helping processors expand their plant size."

Both states have rules in effect that they say are designed to focus the money on smaller meat packing operations.

Missouri is limiting the grants to plants with 200 employees or fewer, although companies that own multiple plants with that limit can apply.

Director Chinn said some of Missouri’s money will be used for rural meat lockers and butchers that are so small they are not inspected by the federal government.

“These are typically your smaller processors. These small processors are necessary for local food systems, and they serve a critical role in our rural community commodities,” Chinn said.

In Oklahoma, publicly-owned meat processing companies are not eligible for the grants, but there is no limit to the size of a privately held business that can apply.

13 New Deaths, 1,117 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated July 30 at 12:11 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 13 new deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's total to 536. They are as follows:

  • Four in Tulsa County, two males and two females all in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Cleveland County, one male and one female both in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in McCurtain County, one male and one female both in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Oklahoma County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Caddo County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Mayes County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Okmulgee County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 1,117 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a three percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 35,740.

Oklahoma has totaled 6,938 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 991 per day.

28,411 people — more than 79 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 647 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 6,793 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,644, followed by Tulsa County with 1,411, Cleveland County with 523, Rogers County with 226, Canadian County with 194, Jackson County with 174, Muskogee County has 130, Okmulgee County with 122, Wagoner County with 117, McCurtain County with 104, Creek County with 104, Pottawatomie County with 103 and Cherokee County with 101.

Kiowa Tribe CARES Act Fund Disbursement Halted

Updated July 29 at 6:18 p.m

Appeals Officer Shannon Edwards with the Code of Federal Regulations Court in Anadarko granted a preliminary injunction against the Kiowa Tribe, barring them from using any of their nearly $20 million CARES Act funds until a budget is passed and approved by the council.

Kiowa tribal chairman Matthew Komalty faces impeachment on Thursday by a seven-member legislative branch over his handling of CARES Act funding, as well as wrongful termination of Kiowa gaming employees, failing to go through the proper process for the annual tribal audit and more.

Komalty says the allegations are a "misrepresentation of accuracy."

A post on the Kiowa Tribe's Facebook page says the executive branch will be appealing the ruling.

Oklahoma City Community College Moves All Fall Classes Online

Updated July 29 at 3:59 p.m.

Citing rising COVID-19 numbers, Oklahoma City Community College announced Wednesday it is moving all its classes this fall online. It's the first public college in Oklahoma to announce such a move.

State data show there are almost 1,700 active, known cases in Oklahoma County. College officials say that many cases means it’s unsafe to have OCCC's 17,000 students flock onto campus, though it will stay open for people who have internet connectivity issues at home.

"Simply put: We can’t educate students, and students can't get a proper education, if we’re all ill," said OCCC Provost Dr. Jeremy Thomas. "It's up to us to keep each other safe."

The online option is a novel approach when compared to other colleges around the state.

For example, Tulsa Community College announced Wednesday it would be returning with at least some of its students in person. The college, like many others, will make efforts to limit the number of people coming into contact, requiring masks and screening people for exposure to the coronavirus.

Midwest City Passes Mask Mandate, Effective Immediately

Updated July 29 at 12:19 p.m.

On Tuesday evening, the City of Midwest City voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance that requires the use of face coverings in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. The ordinance went into effect immediately.

Councilman Pat Byrne emphasized the importance of passing the ordinance in order to avoid another shutdown.

"It's not only a safety deal, but it's what's going to keep our economy going, Byrne said. "We rolled the dice when we shut down the economy in March. We were lucky. We can't do that again. We've got to keep it open."

The ordinance requires face coverings to be worn over the nose and mouth in indoor places open to the public, and when social distancing is not feasible. This includes public or private schools or preschools, except for playing surfaces during athletic activities or practices. It also includes house of worship, including recreation centers, Sunday School classrooms and children's centers.

People exempt from the face-covering requirement include children under the age of 10, people of the same household exercising or playing sports and people who a medical or mental health condition or with a developmental disability. People are also exempt while eating or drinking, while receiving dental services or while swimming or using a "spray park."

Face coverings will also not be required in private homes, personal vehicles, personal offices or workplaces that are not public service areas and where employees can social distance.

There is no specific penalty for individuals violating the ordinance, but they could be subject to prosecution under criminal trespass, disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct.

The emergency ordinance went into effect immediately on Tuesday evening. It is set to expire on September 22, when it will be reconsidered by the council to be repealed, modified or extended.

Oklahoma CityTulsaNormanStillwaterStilwellAltus and Edmond have all passed mask mandates. Enid voted against a mask mandate earlier in July.

14 New Deaths, 848 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated July 29 at 11:40 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 14 new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 523. They are as follows:

  • Three in Cleveland County, two males in the 50 - 64 age group and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in McCurtain County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group and one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Oklahoma County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Caddo County, one female in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Comanche County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Okmulgee County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Osage County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Sequoyah County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Tulsa County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Wagoner County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 848 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a two and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 34,623.

Oklahoma has totaled 6,558 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 937 per day.

27,386 people — more than 79 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 663 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 6,714 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,680, followed by Tulsa County with 1,355, Cleveland County with 493, Rogers County with 210, Canadian County with 190, Jackson County with 173, Muskogee County has 124, Okmulgee County with 119, McCurtain County with 119, Garfield County with 113, Wagoner County with 109 and Creek County with 102.

Ten Residents Dead at Claremore Veterans Center

Updated July 29 4:43 a.m.

Ten residents at the Claremore Veterans Center have died since July 1 after testing positive for COVID-19.

However, Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Joel Kintsel says they might not have died as a direct result of contracting the respiratory disease.

Since the first of the month, 62 residents tested positive with 18 having either moderate or severe symptoms and 34 listed as asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. In addition, 21 employees at the facility are in isolation at home after testing positive.

"Based on our contact tracing, we believe the most likely source for the virus was an asymptomatic employee who did not know they had the virus and unknowingly passed it on to a resident," said Kintsel.

13 New Deaths, 1,089 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated July 28 11:42 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 13 new deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state's total to 509. They are as follows:

  • Three in Tulsa County, one female in the 50 - 64 age group and two females in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Oklahoma County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Canadian County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cleveland County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Garfield County,one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Kay County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in McCurtain County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Rogers County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Stephens County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Wagoner County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 1,089 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's more than a three percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 33,775.

Oklahoma has totaled 6,628 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 947 per day.

26,363 people — more than 78 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 596 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 6,903 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,751, followed by Tulsa County with 1,420, Cleveland County with 402, Rogers County with 223, Canadian County with 191, Jackson County with 166, Muskogee County has 137, Okmulgee County with 129, McCurtain County with 128, Wagoner County with 119, Garfield County with 111, Creek County with 104, Cherokee County with 102, Pottawatomie County with 101 and Bryan County with 101.

33 Oklahoma County Jail Prisoners Test Positive For COVID-19

Updated July 28 at 5:00 a.m.

At least 33 prisoners in the Oklahoma County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19 and the jail has quarantined over 500 prisoners as a precaution.

The increase in COVID-19 cases comes after the jail’s new administration increased testing.

Jail Administrator Greg Williams believes there was only one known COVID case when the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority took charge of the jail from the county Sheriff’s Office on July 1.

"That’s what the staff and the inmates are telling me is that we’re doing a lot more testing," Williams said.

According to Williams, most of the 500 prisoners in quarantine could have had contact with prisoners who tested positive. Many are in quarantine because they refused to take a COVID test.

It’s unclear whether the jail can require prisoners to take the tests or if they have to get prisoners’ permission first. It’s a question Williams is trying to answer because he wants to test as many people as possible.

For now, he says they’re trying to get tests to any prisoner who asks for one.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Wants To Go Virtual For First Nine Weeks

Updated July 28 at 4:45 a.m.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist announced at a special meeting Monday that she is recommending the city’s school board allow the district to operate in a distance learning environment on August 31. 

Gist said she is going to recommend the school year start remotely like it is in Oklahoma City.

She said the move is necessary because of the skyrocketing rates of COVID-19 infection in Tulsa and across Oklahoma. Monday saw a record increase in cases of more than 1,400 statewide.

The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education will weigh Gist's recommendation at a meeting next Monday, August 3.

Mask Mandate Passes In Edmond, But Won't Go Into Effect For A Month

Updated July 28 at 4:40 a.m.

On Monday evening, the City of Edmond passed a mask mandate by a vote of 3-2. But, it was one vote shy of passing as an emergency declaration, so it will not go into effect until August 26.

In casting one of the two votes against, Edmond Mayor Dan O'Neil said he wouldn't make it an emergency because he wanted time to make sure that the mandate is done right.

"I just sure hope that we're right on this thing and we're making the right choice, but gosh darn, I don't want to divide this community," O'Neil said.

The council will meet again next Monday, August 3 to discuss amending the ordinance.

As it stands now, the ordinance — which is similar to one passed by Oklahoma City two weeks ago — requires face coverings to be worn in indoor places open to the public.

People exempt from the face-covering requirement include children under the age of 11, people of the same household exercising or playing sports and people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or with a developmental disability. People are also exempt while eating or drinking, while receiving dental services, medical services or while swimming or at the splash park.

Face coverings will also not be required in federal, state or county buildings or facilities, public or private schools (unless required by the school), and workplaces that don't have face-to-face interactions with the public.

If someone refuses to wear a mask, they may be subject to prosecution for criminal trespass, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct or similar offenses.

Currently, the ordinance would go into effect on August 26 and expire two weeks later on September 8.

Oklahoma City, TulsaNorman, Stillwater, Stilwell and Altus have all passed mask mandates. Enid voted against a mask mandate earlier in July.

1,401 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma Break Another Record

Updated July 27 at 1:14 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 1,401 on Monday. That's nearly a four and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 32,686.

Monday's new cases are the state's largest single-day increase in cases of the virus, beating out the previous day's record. The state had reported 1,714 new cases last week but those numbers included new cases and a backlog of cases from the prior weekend. The backlog was due to a system crash which has since been resolved.

No new deaths were reported, as the state's death toll remains flat at 496.

*Note: weekend reporting of cases and deaths is typically very low compared to weekdays.

Oklahoma has totaled 7,253 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 1,036 per day.

25,252 people — more than 77 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 6,938 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,789, followed by Tulsa County with 1,430, Cleveland County with 433, Rogers County with 216, Canadian County with 190, Jackson County with 182, McCurtain County with 141, Okmulgee County with 118, Garfield County with 115, Wagoner County with 112 and Creek County with 104.

Oklahoma Sees Biggest Single-Day Increase In COVID-19 Cases With 1,204

Updated July 26 at 12:05 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 1,204 on Sunday. That's a four percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 31,285.

Sunday's new cases are the state's largest single-day increase in cases of the virus. On Tuesday, the state reported 1,714 but those numbers included new cases and a backlog of cases from the prior weekend. The backlog was due to a system crash which has since been resolved.

No new deaths were reported, as the state's death toll remains flat at 496.

*Note: weekend reporting of cases and deaths is typically very low compared to weekdays.

Oklahoma has totaled 6,020 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 860 per day.

12 New Deaths, 965 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated July 25 at 7:59 p.m

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 965 on Saturday, representing the state's fourth highest daily increase in COVID-19 infections. That's nearly a three and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 30,081.

12 new deaths were reported, bringing the state's death toll to 496. Further details were not released.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,035 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 719 per day.

625 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

Seven New Deaths, 373 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated July 24 at 12:41 p.m.

New cases of COVID-19 increased by 314 on Friday, representing a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 29,116. Oklahoma health officials say the backlog of cases from earlier this week has been resolved.

There were also seven new deaths reported, bringing the state's total to 484. Two of the new deaths were identified in the past 24 hours. The state released demographic information on six of the seven deaths:

  • Three in Oklahoma County, one female and one male in the 50 - 64 age group and one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Caddo County, male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Creek County, female in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Rogers County, female in the 65 or older age group.

Oklahoma has totaled 4,976 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 711 per day.

23,277 people — more than 79 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 628 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 5,355 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,458, followed by Tulsa County with 1,082, Cleveland County with 350, Jackson County with 163, Rogers County with 155, Canadian County with 144 and McCurtain County with 141.

Oklahoma State Board Of Education Punts On Mask Mandate For Schools

Updated July 23 at 3:55 p.m.

Following hours of contentious debate, Oklahoma’s State Board of Education voted down a proposal that would’ve mandated masks in many schools.

The members voted 4-3 to reject a thorough plan for reopening – developed by State Department of Education and Health staff – and turn it into simply a recommendation.

Cloth face coverings are recommended for children by both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics to fight the spread of COVID-19. And now, the Oklahoma State Board of Education as well.

The majority on the board said they preferred to leave decisions like masking, moving to virtual education and other matters up to local districts.

“Are we going to allow our democracy to be at work?” Board member Estela Hernandez said “It really comes down to the heart of it’s about bottom-up, not top-down.”

Superintendent for Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made an impassioned plea for the plan. And when it failed she expressed her disappointment.

“Ordinarily we should leave most decisions up to a local school district,” Hofmeister said. “But not during a public health emergency.”

Carlisha Williams-Bradley, of Tulsa, also panned the move.

“So I actually don’t see our inactivity of a decision to mandate something today as an elevation of our care or concern for the safety of students,” she said.

Board members who ultimately voted against mandating the plan , said it was too heavy handed. Jennifer Monies, of Oklahoma City, pointed out that she was also involved as a board member at a local school – John Rex Charter School – and that boards like hers can be “much more nimble.”

The massive guidance plan advises school districts to have a mask mandate for staff and students when there are more than 1.43 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the county where the district is located. The mandate would’ve gone into effect in all but six rural Northwestern Oklahoma counties.

It also would’ve thrown high school sports into question, because it discouraged any contact sports activities in counties that had more than 14.39 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

In a press briefing after the meeting, Hofmeister said that many superintendents and other district leaders around the state have said they supported the plan as it was written as a requirement.

She said she fears that they won’t have the political backing in their communities to pass something like a mask mandate, despite believing it is the best way to keep students safe.

“They were counting on the state to protect their students,” she said.

And she says the repercussions from Thursday’s vote could be severe if current trends continue with no action from the state.

“We will inevitably find ourselves where so many may be infected or quarantined that we end up closing prematurely,” Hofmeister said.

Oklahoma's New COVID-19 Cases In July Total More Than Past Four Months Combined

Updated July 23 at 12:09 p.m.

With one week left in the month, Oklahoma has seen more cases in July (14,263) than March, April, May and June combined (13,828).

New cases of COVID-19 increased by 737 on Thursday, representing nearly a three percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 28,802.

There were also three new deaths reported, bringing the state's total to 477. They are as follows:

  • Two in McCurtain County, two females in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Grady County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.

Oklahoma has totaled 5,361 new cases of the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 766 per day.

22,441 people — more than 80 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 607 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus. That includes 255 in ICU.

89 Prisoners Test Positive For COVID-19 In Lexington

Updated July 23 at 10:51 a.m.

The Department of Corrections reports 89 prisoners tested positive for COVID-19 at a state prison complex in Lexington.

The first cases were discovered when two prisoners were tested at a hospital earlier this month. It’s unclear if the two prisoners from Lexington Correctional Center were hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms or if they were asymptomatic and sent to the hospital for something unrelated.

When the men’s tests came back positive, the Department of Corrections tested all of the nearly 200 prisoners living in their unit.

87 of those tests came back positive and the unit was isolated from the rest of the prison. The corrections agency is working with the state health department to determine whether it’s possible to conduct mass testing in the prison complex.

The Department of Corrections prioritizes COVID-19 tests for prisoners who show symptoms and have been screened for other illnesses – or have been exposed to infected people. The agency also tests prisoners scheduled for transfer, release or who leave their prison for other reasons.

These measures built off of early Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines. Currently the federal agency also suggests testing asymptomatic prisoners to prevent spreading the disease, a practice Oklahoma hasn’t picked up.

As of late afternoon Wednesday, 93 prisoners were reported COVID-19 positive across the entire prison system.

The Department of Corrections has canceled visitation at all state facilities this weekend.

---

KOSU depends on donors to keep delivering you the news and information you need. Support this public service by giving monthly as a sustaining member of KOSU or make a one-time donation of your choice. Thank you. Click here to give.

---

Find all of KOSU's coverage of the coronavirus in Oklahoma here.