Coronavirus In Oklahoma: The Latest

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Muscogee (Creek) Nation Oral History Project Will Document COVID-19's Impact On Citizens

Updated January 21 at 3:45 p.m.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation's National Library and Archives received $100,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to document citizens' experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The oral history project titled, "A Twenty-First-Century Pandemic in Indian Country: The Resilience of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Against COVID-19," will include 40 interviews with healthcare workers, students, business owners, elders and leaders of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Its focus will be on how the pandemic has changed their lives and how the Tribe continues to adapt to a new normal.

The funding will help further develop the Tribe's oral history program and kickstart other projects. All of the stories will be digitized and archived.

The project is set to begin later this year.

Cherokee Nation Moves To Next Phase In Vaccine Distribution

Updated January 21 at 2:10 p.m.

More people in the Cherokee Nation will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as the Tribal Nation begins Phase 2 of its vaccine distribution plan.

Cherokee Nation teachers, childcare workers and head start staff are now eligible to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with tribal citizens 55 years and older. Also eligible are infrastructure support and food distribution staff.

"Every citizen we vaccinate, is one less patient at risk of testing positive, having to be hospitalized or lost due to COVID-19," said CNHS Deputy Executive Director of External Operations Brian Hail.

The Cherokee Nation received their first doses of the vaccine on December 14. So far, they've administered more than 6,500 vaccines, including 900 to first speakers.

For more information on the vaccine and to make an appointment go to health.cherokee.org.

55 New Deaths, 2,686 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 21 at 12:16 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 55 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Thursday, for a total of 3,140 deaths since March. They are as follows:

  • Nine in Tulsa County, two females in the 65 or older age group, seven males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Seven in Oklahoma County, one female in the 50-64 age group, two females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, three males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Four in Custer County, one female in the 50-64 age group, three males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Four in Pontotoc County, two females in the 65 or older age group, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Comanche County, two females in the 36-49 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in McClain County, two females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • Three in Muskogee County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Atoka County, two females in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Grady County, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Jefferson County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Adair County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Caddo County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cherokee County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Cleveland County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Delaware County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Garvin County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Kingfisher County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Lincoln County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Marshall County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Mayes County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Payne County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pottawatomie County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Stephens County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Tillman County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Wagoner County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Washington County, one male in the 50-64 age group.

2,686 new infections were also reported, for a total of 363,046 positive cases since March.

Shortly after Thursday's numbers were released, Oklahoma State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye commented on the recent decrease in COVID-19 case numbers.

"The COVID-19 case numbers have been significantly lower this week, which prompted us to investigate their validity as well as our reporting systems out of an abundance of caution," said Frye. "After checking with staff and comparing different sources of information, we can report the data is accurate and our case count has been significantly down this week."

Frye said he is cautiously optimistic as the state trend follows a broad national trend.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 18,540 new cases and 258 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's an average of 2,649 infections per day and a record-high average of 37 deaths per day.

As of Wednesday night, 1,722 people are hospitalized due to the coronavirus in Oklahoma.

327,135 people — more than 90 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 32,771 active cases in the state.

Federal Prisoners Complain A Private Prison In Oklahoma Isn't Following COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

Updated January 21 at 10:24 a.m.

Prisons are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and the people confined inside them have little protection. Several federal prisoners in Oklahoma don't believe prison officials are consistently following guidelines to keep them safe from the virus.

Hear more here.

Dire Rankings For Oklahoma In Final White House Coronavius Task Force Report

Updated January 20 at 5:24 p.m.

The Trump Administration released its final coronavirus task force document this week. It shows that Oklahoma remains in the top five ranking of two outbreak severity indicators.

The Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Task Force began releasing weekly documents to states in June 2020. They soon became controversial.

Many governors, including Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, chose not to publish the data and recommendations from the White House. Eventually, the Stitt administration did release them, but made several remarks doubting their accuracy and helpfulness.

In early December, the Task Force stopped sending states the recommendations, unless they were requested. The Stitt administration chose not to request them.

The final report by the Trump Administration — which the Center for Public Integrity obtained Wednesday — ranked Oklahoma worst in the nation for test positivity rate, third worst for new cases per 100,000 people and fifth worst for its rate of coronavirus hospitalizations.

48 New Deaths, 1,986 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 20 at 11:11 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 48 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Wednesday, for a total of 3,085 deaths since March. They are as follows:

  • Seven in Tulsa County, four females in the 65 or older age group, three males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Five in Oklahoma County, one female in the 50-64 age group, one female in the 65 or older age group, three males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Comanche County, one female in the 65 or older age group, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Kay County, one female in the 65 or older age group, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Cleveland County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Garfield County, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Le Flore County, one female in the 50-64 age group, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in McIntosh County, one female in the 50-64 age group, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Muskogee County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Stephens County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Beckham County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Carter County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Cherokee County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Choctaw County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Coal County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cotton County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Custer County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Delaware County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Grady County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in McClain County, one female 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 female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Payne County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pittsburg County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pontotoc County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pottawatomie County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Rogers County, one male in the 36-49 age group.
  • One in Tillman County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

1,986 new infections were also reported, for a total of 360,360 positive cases since March.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 18,996 new cases and 237 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's an average of 2,714 infections per day and a record-high average of 34 deaths per day.

323,240 people — more than 89 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 34,035 active cases in the state.

43 New Deaths, 1,558 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 19 at 12:04 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 43 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Tuesday, for a total of 3,037 deaths since March. They are as follows:

  • Five in Oklahoma County, three females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Five in Tulsa County, one female in the 50-64 age group, three females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • Four in Delaware County, four females in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Comanche County, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Garfield County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Murray County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • Two in Muskogee County, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Blaine County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Caddo County, one female 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 male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Craig County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Creek County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Grady County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Jackson County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Logan County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Marshall County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Mayes County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Noble County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Nowata County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Ottawa County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pawnee County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Payne County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pittsburg 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 Wagoner County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Washington County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Woodward County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

1,558 new infections were also reported, for a total of 358,374 positive cases since March.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 20,917 new cases and 233 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's an average of 2,988 infections per day and 31 deaths per day.

319,201 people — more than 89 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 36,136 active cases in the state.

Amid Political Pressure, Oklahoma Schools Use Caution In Returning To In Person Classes

Updated January 19 at 4:00 a.m.

Under the right conditions, medical experts say schools can and should stay open despite the COVID-19 pandemic. But with thousands of new cases reported daily across Oklahoma, some school districts continue to use caution despite political pressure from Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.

On Friday, Stitt blasted Tulsa Public Schools Board for delaying reopening for in person classes until March 22nd in a statement sent to reporters. But local public health officials had pushed for the delay, citing a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Tulsa area.

The governor has taken to social media to praise districts who are coming back, name-checking several on Twitter and Facebook over recent days as they reopen.

That includes Oklahoma City Public Schools, which announced some elementary students would return to school on a rotating basis Tuesday.

There will be a mask mandate at OKCPS, something the CDC and other health experts say is necessary to make in person schooling safe. However the governor hasn’t supported such a measure in schools statewide.

Seven New Deaths, 1,837 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 18 at 11:22 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported seven new deaths due to the coronavirus on Monday, for a total of 2,994 deaths since March. They are as follows:

  • Two in Oklahoma County, one female in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Creek County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Grady County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pottawatomie County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Seminole County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Tulsa County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

1,837 new infections were also reported. for a total of 356,816 positive cases since March.

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

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 21,569 new cases and 219 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's an average of 3,081 infections per day and 31 deaths per day.

314,236 people — more than 88 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 39,586 active cases in the state.

35 New Deaths, 3,314 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 17 at 1:40 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 35 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Sunday, for a total of 2,987 deaths since March. No futher details were released.

3,314 new infections were also reported. for a total of 354,979 positive cases since March.

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

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 23,617 new cases and 226 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's an average of 3,374 infections per day and 32 deaths per day.

311,883 people — more than 87 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 40,109 active cases in the state.

27 New Deaths, 3,621 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 16 at 9:22 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 27 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Saturday, for a total of 2,952 deaths since March. No futher details were released.

3,612 new infections were also reported. for a total of 351,665 positive cases since March.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 26,790 new cases and 214 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's an average of 3,827 infections per day and 30 deaths per day.

As of Friday night, 1,866 people are hospitalized due to the coronavirus in Oklahoma.

309,057 people — more than 87 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 39,656 active cases in the state.

'The Rug Was Pulled Out': Oklahoma Officials Frustrated By Depleted Federal Vaccine Reserve

Updated January 15 at 4:54 p.m.

As recently as Wednesday, Oklahoma health officials were hopeful that the state’s weekly vaccine supply would double. But that hope disappeared Friday, when news broke that the federal stockpile fueling that supply surge is gone.

"I was under the illusion earlier this week that there was additional supply out there, and it was sitting there," said Keith Reed, Deputy Commissioner of Health, in a Friday briefing.

Health officials were expecting vaccine supply to double in coming weeks, allowing the state to ramp up its distribution. Reed got a call from the federal government vaccine suppliers on Thursday, where he learned that shipment would not double. He didn’t find out why until the next day.

"Quite frankly, the additional information was from the media report," said Reed.

The Trump Administration and its vaccine team, Operation Warp Speed, had promised to stockpile vaccines to ensure states would have a steady supply for their residents’ required second doses. The Washington Post reported Friday that the administration began distributing those vaccines last month, and the stockpile is depleted.

Oklahomans will still get their first and second doses, but it’s going to take even more patience.

43 New Deaths, 3,538 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 15 at 11:27 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 43 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Friday, for a total of 2,925 deaths since March. They are as follows:

  • Nine in Oklahoma County, two females in the 50-64 age group, one female in the 65 or older age group, two males in the 36-49 age group, four males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Seven in Tulsa County, one female in the 18-35 age group, two females in the 65 or older age group, four males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Four in Cleveland County, two females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Garfield County, three females in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Kay County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • Two in Kingfisher County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Beckham County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cherokee County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Choctaw County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Comanche County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Creek County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Dewey County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Garvin County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Grady County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Harmon County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Murray County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Nowata County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Okmulgee County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Payne County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Sequoyah 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 Texas County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Wagoner County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

3,538 new infections were also reported. for a total of 348,044 positive cases since March.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 27,458 new cases and 222 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's an average of 3,923 infections per day and 32 deaths per day.

As of Thursday night, 1,847 people are hospitalized due to the coronavirus in Oklahoma.

306,874 people — more than 88 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 38,245 active cases in the state.

Oklahoma's New School Quarantine Guidelines Face Mounting Criticism

Updated January 15 at 4:20 a.m.

A new set of quarantine guidelines allow children exposed to COVID-19 to stay in school, but there is mounting criticism for the plan.

Students and teachers who are wearing masks and socially distant no longer have to quarantine after an in school exposure, per Oklahoma’s new guidelines.

When Governor Kevin Stitt announced the plan Tuesday, he cited data from the American Academy of Pediatrics to promote it. Wednesday evening, Oklahoma’s chapter of that organization condemned the guidelines.

In a statement, the pediatricians say the governor is misusing data from other states and schools should still follow CDC recommendations to quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19.

The guidelines have already faced blowback from Oklahoma's Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister and the Oklahoma Education Association.

The new guidelines also appear to have little support on the ground. Urban and suburban school districts around Oklahoma have put out statements saying they won’t be getting rid of quarantine protocols any time soon.

34 New Deaths, 3,142 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 14 at 11:18 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 34 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Thursday, for a total of 2,882 deaths since March. They are as follows:

  • Four in Tulsa County, one female in the 65 or older age group, two males in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Bryan County, three males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Comanche County, one female in the 50-64 age group, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Pontotoc County, one female in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 36-49 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Atoka County, one female in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • Two in Oklahoma County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cleveland County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Creek County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Custer County, one female in the 36-49 age group.
  • One in Grady County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Greer 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 Kingfisher County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Marshall County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in McIntosh County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Muskogee 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 Pottawatomie County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pushmataha County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Rogers County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Sequoyah County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Stephens County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Wagoner County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

3,142 new infections were also reported. for a total of 344,506 positive cases since March.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 29,152 new cases and 210 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's an average of 4,165 infections per day and 30 deaths per day.

As of Wednesday night, 1,844 people are hospitalized due to the coronavirus in Oklahoma.

303,476 people — more than 88 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 38,148 active cases in the state.

No Matter The Language, COVID Creates Challenges For Immersion Learning In Oklahoma

Updated January 14 at 9:25 a.m.

Immersion learning works like this: students come to school and they learn in two languages, usually English and something else. But COVID-19 has made teaching at these schools difficult.

Hear more here.

44 New Deaths, 3,907 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 13 at 12:29 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 44 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Wednesday, for a total of 2,848 deaths since March. They are as follows:

  • 18 in Tulsa County, one female in the 36-49 age group, eight females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, eight males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Four in Oklahoma County, one female in the 36-49 age group, one female in the 65 or older age group, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Four in Wagoner County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Comanche County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in McIntosh County, two females in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Okmulgee County, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Beckham County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Bryan County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cherokee County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cleveland County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Grady County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Le Flore County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Muskogee County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Osage County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Pawnee County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Rogers County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Washington County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Woodward County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

3,907 new infections were also reported. for a total of 341,364 positive cases since March.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 29,791 new cases and 215 deaths due to the coronavirus. That's a record-high average of 4,256 infections per day and 31 deaths per day.

As of Tuesday night, 1,856 people are hospitalized due to the coronavirus in Oklahoma.

299,375 people — more than 87 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 39,141 active cases in the state.

Oklahoma Health Officials Choose Rapid Coronavirus Vaccination Over Rigid Phase Model

Updated January 13 at 10:41 a.m.

Every state in the country is administering their coronavirus vaccines in waves or phases, starting with frontline health workers. StateImpact’s Catherine Sweeney reports that Oklahoma is allowing its phases to overlap.

Read more here.

Choctaw Nation Aids With COVID Vaccinations In Southeast Oklahoma

Updated January 13 at 10:18 a.m.

The Choctaw Nation is partnering with the Oklahoma State Health Department to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

During the month of January, the Choctaw Event Center in Durant will be open every Wednesday so that healthcare workers, those aged 65 years or older and first responders can get their initial dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations are open to everyone, not just Choctaw Nation citizens.

The Choctaw Nation donated the space to the Oklahoma State Department of Health to speed up the vaccination process.

"We are not in this to make money by any stretch of the imagination. We are definitely wanting to do this to protect the citizens of Bryan County of the Choctaw Nation and of Oklahoma," said Jeff Hansen, who works in the public safety division for the Choctaw Nation.

Those wanting to get vaccinated are encouraged to sign up through the state's website, but Hansen explained no one will be turned away just because they didn't register in advance.

The site opened on Jan. 6 and 814 people received their first dose on that day.

Oklahoma Health Experts Warn Of 'Extremely Critical' Time For Rising COVID Hospitalizations

Updated January 13 at 4:00 a.m.

Oklahoma's coronavirus cases and positivity rate are again on the rise and health experts are again ringing alarm bells about hospitalizations.

Hospitals are nearing the point that will require them to ration care, and health experts are urging Oklahomans to ramp up safety precautions.

"As the positivity rate goes up, hospitalizations follow," said Oklahoma Hospital Association president Patti Davis in a briefing with the Healthier Oklahoma coalition on Tuesday.

She noted that the state’s positivity is at an all-time high.

"The next 30 to 45 days are going to be extremely critical in Oklahoma," said Davis.

The Oklahoman reported Friday that the INTEGRIS Health medical system was creating a plan for a crisis standard of care. That designation means the hospital is too overextended, and it will have to ration care to those most likely to survive.

Davis said INTEGRIS isn’t alone in having to prepare for that situation if hospitalizations continue their upward trend.

Oklahoma Students Exposed To The Coronavirus In School Will No Longer Be Required To Quarantine

Updated January 12 at 5:14 p.m.

Quarantining after a COVID-19 exposure will now be optional in Oklahoma classrooms if students and teachers are wearing a mask.

The state’s new policy was announced by Gov. Kevin Stitt in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

It will incentivize mask wearing and keep more kids in the classroom when people who test positive for COVID-19 are discovered in schools, Stitt said.

“This is what’s best for our students period,” he said. “End of story.”

Isolation will still be required for students who test positive and students exposed can still choose to quarantine at home.

Stitt blamed teachers unions like the Oklahoma Education Association for what he says is a lack of districts coming back for in person schooling.

“Decisions about school should be made by parents at the dinner table,” Stitt said. “Not at a union hall by people with their own agenda.”

More than 90% of Oklahoma school districts had some in person schooling last fall, far more than many parts of the country.

OEA President Alicia Priest panned Stitt’s message and the new guidelines in a lengthy statement put out after the press conference.

“The governor says schools are safe, but what is he doing to ensure that? Priest wrote. “He calls for no quarantining when there is a mask policy but won’t demand strong mask policies. He cherry picks data instead of holistically tackling the pandemic.”

The new quarantine policy defies current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and previous guidelines from the state health department.

Those federal guidelines – widely followed by schools that are in-person around the country and in Oklahoma – say that when a child is within six feet of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 indoors they must self-quarantine for 7 days if they receive a negative test or 10 days if they aren’t tested.

Because of that, it was criticized by Democratic legislators and State schools superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

“The ramifications of the pandemic on education have been challenging and severe,” Hofmeister wrote in a statement. “While this option underscores the need for mask requirements in school, I cannot in good conscience support ignoring quarantine guidelines from the CDC and other infectious disease experts. There is no doubt we all want our students and teachers to be safely in the classroom, but COVID is raging in Oklahoma. In-person instruction is critical, and so is mitigating the spread of the virus. They are not mutually exclusive.”

A state Department of Education spokeswoman said Hofmeister was not invited to the press conference Tuesday and wasn’t involved in crafting the plan.

Oklahoma’s new concept is based on a new set of identical guidelines approved in Missouri.

The so-called ‘Missouri model’ was released in mid-November.

It was swiftly adopted by Woodward Public Schools that month and had been unofficially followed by districts across the state last semester.

At that time, State Commissioner of Health Lance Frye and Hofmeister sent out a joint letter to school districts condemning the type of policy because “Oklahoma law prohibits an individual having a communicable disease from attending a public or private school.”

“Consistent with this, the law places a duty on families and school officials to isolate and exclude individuals from coming to school until the expiration of the period of isolation or quarantine, or until permission has been granted by the public health official,” the letter says.

29 New Deaths, 2,210 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated January 12 at 11:14 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 29 new deaths due to the coronavirus on Tuesday, for a total of 2,804 deaths since March. They are as follows:

  • Six in Oklahoma County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, four males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Four in Cleveland County, one female in the 50-64 age group, two females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Cherokee County, two males in the 36-49 age group.
  • Two in Garvin County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Beckham County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Comanche County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cotton County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Garfield County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Hughes County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Lincoln County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in McClain County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Osage County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pontotoc County, one male in the 36-49 age group.
  • One in Pottawatomie County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Rogers County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Seminole County, one male in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Sequoyah 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 Washita County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

2,210 new infections were also reported. for a total of 337,457 positive cases since March.

In the past seven days, Oklahoma has reported 29,189 new cases and 233 deaths due to the coronavirus. That makes record-high averages of 4,170 infections and 33 deaths per day.

As of Monday night, 1,902 people are hospitalized due to the coronavirus in Oklahoma.

294,629 people — more than 87 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 40,024 active cases in the state.

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