Coronavirus In Oklahoma: The Latest

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416 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated April 9 at 1:40 p.m.

416 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Friday, for a total of 442,805 since March 2020.

Oklahoma is reporting an average of 323 infections per day in the past week.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 8,033. That's an increase of 10 from the day before.

Stillwater Public Schools Lawsuit Dismissed After District Welcomed Students Back To Classroom

Updated April 8 at 4:53 p.m.

A lawsuit filed by a group of concerned Stillwater Public Schools' parents was quietly dismissed at the end of March.  

The suit - filed last September - had run into a number of delays. By the time it was dismissed, the district had pivoted to full, five day a week instruction.

In the interim, parents in the city had remained vocal critics. One mother - who was not part of the suit - even appeared in a December video criticizing district leadership with Gov. Kevin Stitt.

But ultimately vaccine availability and a gradual decline in cases in Payne County meant students could come back to school anyway.

“We’ve been pleased to see significant decreases in community cases of COVID-19 over the past few weeks and look forward to welcoming students back to our schools,” Superintendent Marc Moore wrote to parents in late March.

The six parents of Stillwater Public Schools students sued their childrens’ district over its distance learning policies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suit alleged the district’s policies to deal with the pandemic - shifting to virtual instruction when there are more than 50 new covid cases per 100,000 people in Payne County - was over the top.

The district issued a statement to StateImpact about the case’s conclusion.

“The recent dismissal with prejudice of the case against the school district regarding in person instruction allows us to better focus our attention and resources on our educational mission,” district spokesman Barry Fuxa wrote in an email. “We are ready to work with all families in our community to move forward, past the tensions and disagreements that the pandemic has brought, and to focus on the academic and personal growth of every student.”

A lawsuit that is dismissed “with prejudice” can’t be brought back to court.

According to a district dashboard, 129 of Stillwater’s 926 staff members have tested positive for the virus. Additionally, 256 of its roughly 5,600 students have tested positive as well.

A message left with the parents’ attorney was not immediately returned Thursday.

483 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated April 8 at 2:20 p.m.

483 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Thursday, for a total of 442,389 since March 2020.

Oklahoma is reporting an average of 316 infections per day in the past week.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 8,023. That's an increase of 29 from the day before.

Oklahoma To Open Vaccine Eligibility To Non-Residents

Updated April 7 at 3:05 p.m.

Oklahoma has dropped its residency requirement for receiving the coronavirus vaccine, citing an increasing supply and vaccination progress.

Health officials say beginning Thursday, Oklahoma will open vaccine eligibility to residents of neighboring states and beyond.

"We are now reaching that point and are happy to extend a welcome to our neighbors as part of our efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the region," Deputy Commissioner Keith Reed said in a statement. "This virus does not adhere to boundaries drawn on a map, so by ensuring high vaccination rates across the region — not just Oklahoma — we are providing an extra layer of protection for our residents."

Oklahoma is one of the first states to remove the residency requirement, following several Oklahoma tribes who did so weeks ago.

"This is the right thing to do for our neighbors," said Reed. "We hope to see other states that have fared well in administration rates follow suit as we all continue to work together to bring an end to this pandemic."

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 16 and older with parental consent, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines are for those 18 and older.

Vaccines are available through many doctors and pharmacies or you can use the state’s appointment portal at vaccinate.ok.gov or the federal vaccine locator at vaccinefinder.org.

Nearly 44 percent of Oklahoma adults have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine.

Backlogged Cases Inflate New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma To 1,764

Updated April 7 at 1:45 p.m.

1,764 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Wednesday, for a total of 441,906 since March 2020.

On Tuesday, Oklahoma State Epidemiologist Dr. Jared Taylor said Wednesday's report would include about 1,300 backlogged COVID cases. Most of those are from December to February from a lab that was reporting data incorrectly for about six weeks when the state moved to a new system. Taylor said the sudden bump in cases does not reflect a change in the current status of positive cases in the state.

Without the backlogged cases, Oklahoma is reporting an average of 306 infections per day in the past week.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,994. That's an increase of 28 from the day before.

120 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated April 6 at 11:54 a.m.

120 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Tuesday, for a total of 440,142 since March 2020.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,168 new cases for an average of 310 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,966. That's an increase of five from the day before.

Oklahoma State Epidemiologist Dr. Jared Taylor said on Tuesday that about 1,300 backlogged COVID cases will be reported on Wednesday. Most of those are from December to February from a lab that was reporting data incorrectly for about six weeks when the state moved to a new system. Taylor said the sudden bump in cases does not reflect a change in the current status of positive cases in the state.

226 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated April 5 at 1:33 p.m.

226 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Monday, for a total of 440,022 since March 2020.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,19 new cases for an average of 310 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,961. That's an increase of 29 from Friday.

'We Don't Have A Tribal Wikipedia': Kiowa Struggle With Pandemic Loss, But Remain Vibrant

Updated April 5 at 4:30 a.m.

In February, the United States passed the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. The pandemic has hit Indigenous communities particularly hard. In some tribal nations, the virus has taken first language speakers and the culture bearers who hold knowledge that marks the tribal nation's identity. That's especially true for the Kiowa Tribe in Southwest Oklahoma.

Get the full story here.

372 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated April 2 at 1:22 p.m.

372 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Thursday, for a total of 439,149 positive cases since March 2020.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,178 new cases for an average of 311 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,932. That's an increase of 34 from the day before.

413 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated April 1 at 1:16 p.m.

413 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Thursday, for a total of 438,777 positive cases since March 2020.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,273 new cases for an average of 325 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,898. That's an increase of 25 from the day before.

390 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated March 31 at 11:37 a.m.

390 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Wednesday, for a total of 438,364 positive cases since March 2020.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,229 new cases for an average of 318 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,873. That's an increase of 27 from the day before.

121 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated March 30 at 2:09 p.m.

121 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Tuesday, for a total of 437,974 positive cases since March 2020.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,340 new cases for an average of 334 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,846. That's an increase of 11 from Monday.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Gets Coronavirus Vaccine On Camera

Updated March 30 at 7:32 a.m.

Oklahoma opened coronavirus vaccine eligibility to all adults on Monday, and Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt took advantage. He got the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine on camera.

"I’m trying to lead by example, so that’s why I’m doing it today," Stitt said. "We think all three vaccines are safe. That's why I'm stepping up."

According to an NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist survey, Republican men are the most reluctant to get the coronavirus vaccine. 49% of Republican men said they would not get vaccinated, compared to 30% of all adults.

Clinics across Oklahoma are offering the coronavirus vaccines to everyone 16 years and older, regardless of phase. The state joined Alaska, Arizona, Mississippi and Texas in opening vaccine elgibility to the general public.

Health officials say to protect the community, residents should get their shots at the soonest possible appointment.

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 16 and older, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines are for those 18 and older. Vaccine trials are still underway for children.

Vaccines are available through many doctors and pharmacies or you can use the state's appointment portal at vaccinate.ok.gov or the federal vaccine locator at vaccinefinder.org.

More than 30 percent of Oklahomans have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine.

882 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated March 29 at 3:00 p.m.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Monday reported an increase of 882 infections of the coronavirus in Oklahoma since Friday. Oklahoma is no longer reporting coronavirus statistics over the weekend.

The state has seen a total of 437,853 positive cases since March 2020. In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,403 new cases for an average of 343 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,835. That's an increase of 53 from Friday.

467 New Coronavirus Infections In Oklahoma

Updated March 26 at 11:25 a.m.

467 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Friday, for a total of 436,971 positive cases since March 2020. In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,480 new cases for an average of 354 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,782. That's an increase of 14 from Thursday.

369 New COVID-19 Infections In Oklahoma

Updated March 25 at 12:22 p.m.

369 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Thursday.

The state’s 7-day rolling average for the number of new cases is 347.

Oklahoma’s Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID deaths based on death certificates now stands at 7,768. There are nearly 11,000 active cases of the virus in Oklahoma.

The state’s latest weekly epidemiology report also found that more than 1.4 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state. Of that number, over half a million people have completed their vaccine series.

Tulsa Public Schools Administrators Share Cautious Coronavirus Approach On National Stage

Updated March 25 at 4:00 a.m.

Tulsa Public Schools administrators and a student appeared on a national stage on Wednesday to talk about the district’s approach to coming back to school.

TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist touted the district’s cautious approach to coming back to school at the U.S. Department of Education’s National Safe School Reopening Summit.

Gist and the district drew criticism from local and state leaders for the stop-and-start nature of Tulsa’s reopening plan. But she says it was necessary because of rising case loads in the city.

Now, she says more work is necessary to recover from the pandemic.

"We're thinking critically about all of the things we need to do differently," said Gist. "We want to make sure we’re designing better, bolder systems of learning, better systems of support."

The summit, hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, shared perspectives around the country about reopening schools. President Joe Biden's administration has said reopening schools is a priority.

In Oklahoma, practically every school is offering some form of in-person learning this spring.

501 New COVID-19 Infections In Oklahoma

Updated March 24 at 1:28 p.m.

501 new infections of the coronavirus were confirmed in Oklahoma on Wednesday, for a total of 436,135 positive cases since March 2020. In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 2,619 new cases for an average of 374 infections per day.

Oklahoma's Provisional Death Count, which reflects COVID deaths based on death certificates, now stands at 7,727. That's an odd decrease of one from Tuesday. Health officials have not yet given a reason for the updated number.

419,693 people — more than 96 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 10,906 active cases in the state.

Homeschooling Nearly Tripled In Oklahoma During The Pandemic

Updated March 24 at 5:20 a.m.

During the pandemic, homeschooling grew in popularity for families across the country and more than doubled in 2020. The rate rose especially in Oklahoma.

A U.S. Census Bureau survey reveals that Oklahoma had the fourth highest increase in homeschooling of any state. The rate of homeschool households in the state rose from 7.7 percent in the spring to 20.1 percent in the fall.

It’s unclear why the rate skyrocketed.

Public school enrollment sharply declined in fall 2020, but much of that loss was due to a steep drop in kindergarten and pre-k enrollment.

It’s also unknown if families with children enrolled in virtual charter schools answered that they were homeschooling.

Regardless, the rate of students learning at home has risen and it’s unclear if that trend will continue in future school years.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lifts Emergency Coronavirus Order

Updated March 24 at 5:00 a.m.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation will lift the state of emergency they declared last year at the start of the pandemic. But even without the order, some safety measures will remain in place.At the start of the pandemic, Muscogee (Creek) Nation shut down community centers, closed tribal government offices, moved meetings online and canceled the annual Creek Nation Festival in Okmulgee.

Beginning April 1, community centers will begin to reopen at reduced capacity for social distancing. Officials within the tribal nation are also considering holding a scaled back version of the annual Creek Nation Festival.

Mask mandates at government offices will continue and protective equipment and supplies like hand sanitizer must also be made available to employees.

Jason Salsman, Muscogee (Creek) Nation's press secretary, said this is part of trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy while protecting people.

"This is a really big deal for the community. This is where they have their bake sales, community meetings, things like that," said Salsman.

Salsman said the decision to dial back on the state of emergency was based on the daily falling rates of COVID-19 infection and the increased vaccination rates.

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