Coronavirus In Oklahoma: The Latest

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Nine New Deaths, 1,249 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 18 at 12:13 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported nine new deaths on Friday, bringing the state's total to 939. They are as follows:

  • Two in Grady County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Oklahoma County, one female and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Harper County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Le Flore County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Payne 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 50 - 64 age group.

There were also 1,249 new cases of COVID-19 reported. The state has seen a total of 74,567 positive cases since March.

Oklahoma has reported 6,925 new cases and 51 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 989 cases and seven deaths per day

63,135 people — more than 84 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 516 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 10,493 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 2,004, followed by Tulsa County with 1,480, Cleveland County with 842, Payne County with 397, Garfield County with 289, Canadian County with 260, Muskogee County with 243, Rogers County with 238, Grady County with 245, Craig County with 239, Cherokee County with 230, Pittsburg County with 210, Pottawatomie County with 182, LeFlore County with 173, Sequoyah County with 148, McCurtain County with 147, Wagoner County with 145, Creek County with 143, Bryan County with 136, Comanche County with 134, Texas County with 128, McClain County with 125, Ottawa County with 119, Kay County with 117, Adair County with 111, Custer County with 103 and Beckham County with 103.

Oklahoma Health Experts Say COVID-19 Also Attacks The Circulatory System

Updated September 17 at 9:47 p.m.

As we learn more about the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, researchers and doctors are finding the virus doesn’t just attack the respiratory system. As StateImpact's Catherine Sweeney reports, COVID-19 should also be thought of as a circulatory disease.

Read the full story here.

Six New Deaths, 1,034 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 17 at 12:22 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported six new deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's total to 930. They are as follows:

  • Two in Tulsa County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Garfield 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 Lincoln County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in McCurtain County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 1,034 new cases of COVID-19 reported. The state has seen a total of 73,318 positive cases since March.

Oklahoma has reported 6,618 new cases and 55 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 945 cases and eight deaths per day.

62,114 people — more than 84 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 516 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 10,274 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,848, followed by Tulsa County with 1,522, Cleveland County with 873, Payne County with 418, Garfield County with 280, Muskogee County with 248, Rogers County with 240, Craig County with 238, Cherokee County with 227, Canadian County with 219, Grady County with 219, Pittsburg County with 212, Pottawatomie County with 199, LeFlore County with 157, Wagoner County with 151, Sequoyah County with 151, McCurtain County with 143, Texas County with 141, Creek County with 137, Comanche County with 133, Bryan County with 126, Ottawa County with 123, McClain County with 114, Kay County with 114, Adair County with 113 and Okmulgee County with 103.

Oklahoma Has 5th Highest Rate In The Nation For COVID-19 Test Positivity And Daily Cases

Updated September 17 at 5:00 a.m.

Oklahoma’s coronavirus trends continue to climb in the national rankings.

For several months, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has issued state-level data and recommendations to governors. In this week’s update, the task force ranked Oklahoma 5th in the nation for its new cases per 100,000 people and for its positivity rate.

READ THE REPORT HERE

Across the nation, the U.S. is seeing an average of 74 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people each day. Oklahoma’s rate is nearly twice that high, at 142 cases per 100,000.

The task force has again recommended a statewide mask mandate, which Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has continually rebuffed. The report pointed to neighboring Arkansas as a "great example in the Heartland where statewide transmission has decreased through mask usage."

The report also recommends weekly surveillance for K-12 teachers, nursing home and assisted living staff, prison staff and first responders. It also says, "COVID-19 is being brought into nursing homes through community transmission."

House Democrats recently called for Stitt to require prison employees be tested for the virus, but Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow says it isn’t legal to require testing. There have been a recent string of outbreaks inside Oklahoma's prisons. As of Wednesday, a total of 595 Oklahoma prisoners had COVID and 13 were hospitalized.

For universities, the task force recommends wastewater surveillance to "identify areas with high viral load for targeted testing." The University of Arizona believes they recently stopped a potential outbreak by testing wastewater from dorms.

12 New Deaths, 970 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 16 at 11:23 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 12 new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 924. They are as follows:

  • Three in Canadian County, one female in the 50 - 64 age group and one female and one male 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Muskogee County, two females in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Oklahoma County, one female and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Tulsa County, one female and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cotton County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Johnston County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Nowata County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 970 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's nearly a one and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 72,284.

Oklahoma has reported 6,355 new cases and 61 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 908 cases and nine deaths per day.

61,026 people — more than 84 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 528 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 10,334 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,835, followed by Tulsa County with 1,536, Cleveland County with 965, Payne County with 437, Garfield County with 310, Muskogee County with 256, Craig County with 246, Rogers County with 235, Pittsburg County with 215, Cherokee County with 212, Canadian County with 208, Grady County with 194, Pottawatomie County with 188, Wagoner County with 154, Texas County with 150, Creek County with 145, McCurtain County with 140, Sequoyah County with 140, Bryan County with 136, Comanche County with 133, LeFlore County with 133, Ottawa County with 130, McClain County with 126, Kay County with 112, Okmulgee County with 107 and Adair County with 103.

Two More Oklahoma Prisoners Dead After Contracting COVID

Updated September 16 at 5:15 a.m.

There are now at least four state prisoners who have died after a COVID-19 diagnosis. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections reported two more deaths Monday night.

One man incarcerated at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center died in a hospital Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19. The agency said in a news release that the man’s cause of death still needed to be determined by the state medical examiner’s office.

Another man incarcerated at Joseph Harp Correctional Center actually died on September 3, but the agency said it didn’t initially announce his death because the medical examiner determined he didn’t die from COVID-19.

Recently the department began sharing prisoner deaths that could be related to the infection as well as deaths officials believe were caused by the disease. Department of Corrections spokesperson Justin Wolf says this change in reporting is why the man’s death is being announced now.

There has been a lot of confusion over the question: What is a COVID-19 death?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines to help officials correctly report deaths caused by the disease.

StateImpact has not yet been able to review death reports for Oklahoma’s prisoners who died after a COVID-19 diagnosis. Citing medical privacy rules, Wolf said they are not releasing the prisoners’ names.

The announcement of the deaths comes as the Department of Corrections is in the midst of another major COVID-19 outbreak inside a state prison.

Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center – a minimum security prison for men in Vinita – reported 202 prisoners infected with COVID as of Monday. The prison held a total of 416 men at the time of the report.

This is part of a recent string of outbreaks inside prisons around the state that have angered prisoners’ families and advocates. As of Monday, a total of 662 Oklahoma prisoners had COVID and 10 were hospitalized.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Plans Return To In-Person Learning

Updated September 16 at 5:00 a.m.

Oklahoma City Public Schools are planning to come back for in-person learning ahead of schedule amid struggles to conduct distance learning.

Citing increased in-person classes in surrounding districts, OKCPS superintendent Sean McDaniel announced the district’s youngest students will start coming back in mid-October.

The plan would welcome in Pre-K and kindergarten students to school on October 19 on block schedule days where some students would come two days a week and others would come a different two days.

All students would be taking part in rotating in-person instruction starting in the second week of November.

Distance learning would still be an option for those who aren’t comfortable with returning in person.

The move comes amid a growing number of students and school staff around Oklahoma either testing positive for or quarantining because of COVID-19. A StateImpact database reveals that more than 200 public school districts have reported at least one case of COVID-19 since reopening in August.

Seven New Deaths, 1,091 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 15 at 12:11 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported seven new deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state's total to 912. They are as follows:

  • Three in Tulsa County, one female and two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Creek County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Jackson County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Oklahoma County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Tillman County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 1,091 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a one and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 71,314.

Oklahoma has reported 6,251 new cases and 58 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 894 cases and eight deaths per day.

59,993 people — more than 84 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 10,409 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,840, followed by Tulsa County with 1,609, Cleveland County with 959, Payne County with 477, Garfield County with 321, Craig County with 254, Rogers County with 236, Muskogee County with 235, Canadian County with 219, Pittsburg County with 219, Cherokee County with 210, Pottawatomie County with 190, Grady County with 181, Wagoner County with 155, McCurtain County with 153, Creek County with 141, Sequoyah County with 134, Comanche County with 130, Texas County with 130, LeFlore County with 128, Bryan County with 120, McClain County with 113, Kay County with 113, Okmulgee County with 112 and Adair County with 102.

COVID-19 Mortality Rate Continues To Rise In Rural Oklahoma

Updated September 15 at 10:19 a.m.

The COVID-19 mortality rate continues to be higher in rural parts of the state than urban areas, according to analysis of state data by the Oklahoma State University Center for Rural Health. Rural areas make up 34% of Oklahoma’s population but account for 36% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state since April.

As of Sept. 11, the cumulative mortality is about 24 per 100,000 people in rural areas. This is slightly higher than urban areas.

Randolph Hubach, an associate professor of rural health at OSU, said the difference between rural and urban mortality rates is important.

“There's about a two per hundred thousand difference, which seems small, but it is still quite notable,” Hubach said. “Thinking about how this is being exacerbated with the number of new cases, how health infrastructure might be overburdened.”

Hubach said unless social distancing and mask mandates are taking place, the mortality rate will continue to increase.

“In order to decrease the mortality rate, we really have to decrease just the rate of COVID within our entire community,” Hubach said.

No New Deaths, 869 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 14 at 11:19 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported no new deaths on Monday, as the state's total remains at 905.

There were 869 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 70,223.

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

Oklahoma has reported 6,003 new cases and 52 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 858 cases and seven deaths per day.

House Democrats Call For Corrections Employees To Be Tested Regularly For COVID-19

Updated September 14 at 10:53 a.m.

Democrats in the State Legislature are asking Gov. Kevin Stitt to require state prison employees be tested for COVID-19, but the Oklahoma Department of Corrections claims requiring testing would be illegal.

Arguing for prison staff testing, House of Representatives Minority Leader Emily Virgin cited worrisome outbreaks at several prisons in a letter to Stitt.

On Wednesday, more than 700 prisoners had COVID at just one women’s prison in Taft. Corrections workers who come and go daily are a primary avenue for COVID to get inside a prison.

Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow says the agency asks employees to get tested and will provide them tests, but he says it isn’t legal to require testing.

"There’s not statutes that bar us from doing that but, because it’s their own medical, their personal medical care and medical treatment we do not have the ability to force them to take the test," Crow said.

Virgin says there is no legal basis for that argument.

"Other states have already implemented staff testing programs to protect their communities," Virgin said. "Oklahoma must follow suit."

As of this week, 225 corrections employees had tested positive for COVID since the beginning of the pandemic.

Several prisons with the highest number of sick employees have also had the highest number of sick prisoners.

Six New Deaths, 695 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 13 at 3:26 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials report new cases of COVID-19 increased by 695 on Sunday. That's a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 69,354.

Six new deaths were reported, as the state's death toll rose to 905. No further details were released.

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

Oklahoma has reported 5,747 new cases and 52 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 821 cases and seven deaths per day.

11 New Deaths, 1,017 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 12 at 12:45 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials report deaths due to COVID-19 increased by 11 on Saturday, bringing the state's death toll to 899. Further details were not released.

1,017 new cases were reported, representing a one and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 68,659.

Oklahoma has reported 5,472 new cases and 49 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 782 cases and seven deaths per day.

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

13 New Deaths, 942 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 11 at 11:25 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 13 new deaths on Friday, bringing the state's total to 888. They are as follows:

  • Four in Le Flore County, three females and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Rogers County, three males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Oklahoma County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Garfield County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Kay County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in McClain County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Tulsa County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

The health department notes that one death from Garfield County included in yesterday's counts has since been removed because that person was a Kansas resident.

There were also 942 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 67,642.

Oklahoma has reported 5,602 new cases and 42 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 800 cases and six deaths per day.

57,383 people — more than 84 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 509 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 9,371 active cases in the state. Tulsa County has the most active cases with 1,669, followed by Oklahoma County with 1,625, Cleveland County with 982, Payne County with 481, Garfield County with 282, Rogers County with 218, Cherokee County with 206, Muskogee County with 190, Canadian County with 184, Pottawatomie County with 175, Ottawa County with 161, McCurtain County with 152, Wagoner County with 142, LeFlore County with 128, Creek County with 126, Sequoyah County with 118, Grady County with 116, Adair County with 114, Comanche County with 111, Texas County with 110, Pittsburg County with 102, Okmulgee County with 101 and McClain County with 101.

Cherokee Nation Moves Ahead On CARES Projects

Updated September 10 at 2:33 p.m.

The Cherokee Nation launched new construction and remodeling plans as part of their COVID-19 response plan.

On Tuesday, the nation broke ground on $25 million worth of building and remodeling projects known as Respond, Recover and Rebuild. The eight new facilities and four remodeling projects, located in Vinita, Pryor, Stillwell, Tahlequah and other towns throughout the Nation, will include a PPE manufacturing facility, a food outreach site and a new employee healthcare facility.

"We are finding ways to put Cherokees to work here by manufacturing equipment that will make a difference in our community and across the country," said District 7 Tribal Councilor Canaan Duncan. "COVID has certainly taken a toll on all of us, but by having a site to manufacture PPE and test for COVID in our community, we will make a huge difference."

Money for the projects comes from CARES Act money the tribe received in the spring.

Cherokee Nation officials are hopeful the investment of funds will provide jobs and critical infrastructure for the tribe.

Another Oklahoma Prisoner Infected With COVID-19 Dies

Updated September 10 at 2:17 p.m.

Another state prisoner diagnosed with COVID has died. The man, incarcerated at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington, was taken to a hospital where he died.

The state medical examiner’s office will determine his cause of death.

Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow confirmed the prisoner’s death in an interview with StateImpact Thursday morning. Crow said the man had underlying health conditions that could have been complicated by COVID.

As of Wednesday, 92 prisoners at Joseph Harp were infected with COVID and eight were hospitalized

This is the second state prisoner known to have died after a COVID diagnosis. A woman from Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft died last week. Her cause of death is still being determined.

13 New Deaths, 771 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 10 at 12:28 p.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported 12 new deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's total to 875. 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.
  • Two in Creek County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Carter County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Garfield County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Johnston County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Le Flore County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Muskogee County, one female in the 50 - 64 age group.
  • One in Osage County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pittsburg County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 771 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 66,700.

Oklahoma has reported 5,673 new cases and 41 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 810 cases and six deaths per day.

56,531 people — more than 84 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 513 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 9,293 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,644, followed by Tulsa County with 1,629, Cleveland County with 941, Payne County with 474, Garfield County with 301, Rogers County with 204, Muskogee County with 197, Cherokee County with 194, Canadian County with 182, Pottawatomie County with 179, LeFlore County with 158, Ottawa County with 153, McCurtain County with 152, Wagoner County with 146, Creek County with 119, Comanche County with 117, Adair County with 116, Texas County with 112, Sequoyah County with 110, Grady County with 105, Washington County with 103, Bryan County with 100 and McClain County with 100.

Nine New Deaths, 876 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 9 at 11:40 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported nine new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 863. They are as follows:

  • Three in Tulsa County, one female in the 36 - 49 age group and one female and one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cleveland County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Comanche County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Creek County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Kiowa County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Le Flore County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Nowata County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 876 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's a one percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 65,929.

Oklahoma has reported 5,811 new cases and 42 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 830 cases and six deaths per day.

55,405 people — more than 83 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus. 462 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized as either confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or under investigation for the virus.

There are 9,661 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,715, followed by Tulsa County with 1,604, Cleveland County with 850, Payne County with 505, Muskogee County with 500, Garfield County with 325, Rogers County with 211, Cherokee County with 196, Pottawatomie County with 186, Canadian County with 183, LeFlore County with 169, McCurtain County with 155, Wagoner County with 144, Ottawa County with 141, Creek County with 129, Texas County with 122, Adair County with 120, Washington County with 110, Okmulgee County with 102, Sequoyah County with 101 and Comanche County with 100.

Oklahoma Prisoner Dies After Being Hospitalized With COVID Symptoms

Updated September 8 at 2:36 p.m.

An Oklahoma prisoner who tested positive for COVID-19 died in a hospital on Saturday. The woman, whose name has not been released, was admitted to the hospital with COVID symptoms.

She was incarcerated at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center which had 713 positive COVID cases as of Friday.

According to a Department of Corrections news release, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine what caused her death. Citing medical privacy rules the corrections agency said it would not release her identity.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports there have been at least 854 COVID deaths in Oklahoma. This is the first time the state has reported one of its prisoners died after being diagnosed with the disease.

The Department of Corrections news release says the agency has not received any death reports regarding its prisoners from the state medical examiner’s office citing COVID-19 as a cause of death.

If she had lived, the woman’s earliest possible release would have come in May 2021.

One New Death, 833 New COVID-19 Cases In Oklahoma

Updated September 8 at 11:39 a.m.

Oklahoma health officials reported one new death on Tuesday, bringing the state's total to 854. They are as follows:

  • One in Tulsa County, one male in the 65 or older age group.

There were also 833 new cases of COVID-19 reported. That's more than a one and a half percent increase in total reported cases, with the state's total now at 65,053.

Oklahoma has reported 5,654 new cases and 45 deaths due to the coronavirus in the past seven days, an average of 808 cases and six deaths per day.

54,269 people — more than 83 percent of the total cases — have since been classified as having recovered from the virus.

There are 9,930 active cases in the state. Oklahoma County has the most active cases with 1,676, followed by Tulsa County with 1,655, Cleveland County with 900, Muskogee County with 804, Payne County with 523, Garfield County with 321, Rogers County with 200, Cherokee County with 196, Pottawatomie County with 184, Canadian County with 180, LeFlore County with 163, McCurtain County with 159, Ottawa County with 146, Wagoner County with 135, Creek County with 131, Adair County with 120, Washington County with 112, Texas County with 108 and Comanche County with 101.

Oklahoma Health Officials Announce Changes To Coronavirus Data Policies

Updated September 8 at 5:15 a.m.

State officials announced several changes to Oklahoma's coronavirus policies on Friday. The state is updating which data it will report, how it will collect that data, and how it will be displayed.

Health officials have always tracked results from the tests known as antigen or rapid tests. But those tests were considered less reliable than the standard PCR test or the nose swab. Positive antigen tests have not been included in total cases. Officials said Friday those tests have improved, and daily cases will include antigen positives starting this week.

Officials are also partnering with Google to modernize how they collect data from health providers. Under the current system, the state was getting reports through several channels, including fax updates and call ins.

Lastly, the data dashboard available to the public on the state’s coronavirus website will get a redesign, which also launches Tuesday.

Data Shows How COVID-19 Has Impacted Oklahoma's Creative Sector

Updated September 8 at 5:00 a.m.

America's arts, culture and creative economy was one of the first sectors to be hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now data released by the Brookings Institution have numbers to show by how much. 

The data shows that between April 1st and July 31st  there was an estimated loss of 2.7 million jobs and more than $150 billion loss in sales of goods and services for creative industries nationwide. Those numbers represent nearly a third of all jobs in those industries and 9% of annual sales. 

Oklahoma alone saw more than 19,000 jobs lost as a result of the pandemic within the four months analyzed. The state also saw a loss of $606 million dollars in sales of creative industry goods and services. 

Oklahoma Arts Council's Executive Director Amber Sharples said the data backs what they've been hearing from the arts community. 

"This is just having a catastrophic effect, and what we are concerned about are the long-term ramifications of the pandemic on the arts sector," Sharples said. 

Mirroring the nation - Oklahoma's fine and performing arts have been hit the hardest. Their losses represent up to 50% of job losses in some cases and 27% of lost sales. 

In Oklahoma City's Plaza District, Sharples said Lyric Theatre had to let go of 65% of their full time staff. 

The long-term effects of the losses that she's concerned about will, in some cases, take years to repair. 

She also has concerns for the organizations that have been providing COVID-19 assistance when they themselves are running on limited resources. 

"It is not sustainable, nor is it fair, to ask them to do more services and accrue more costs," Sharples said.

The City of Oklahoma City recently provided a a $2 million program to help live performance venues. Live performance venues were able to apply for up to $250,000 for lost revenue, payroll and more through the city's Small Business Continuity Program.

Tulsa is currently providing $150,000 for music venues and festivals in Tulsa County through a program called Play Tulsa Music. Applicants have to meet Tulsa Health Department's reopening guidelines, provide capacity between 20 and 1,000, and secure 50% of fees for musicians.

Cathy O'Connor is the president and CEO of the Alliance for Economic Devolopment in Oklahoma City. In a press release she said the live entertainment and performing arts are important assets to the community.

"This assistance will help perserve our access to cultural events, live entertainment and performing arts," O'Connor said. "These businesses have seen dramatic revenue decreases over the past five months."

Sharples said the Brookings Institution data should help jumpstart conversations with state leaders on how dire the situtaion is for Oklahoma's arts - in hopes of finding a way to provide much needed relief. 

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