rural issues

Kurt Papenfus, a doctor in the small town of Cheyenne Wells, Colo., started to feel sick around Halloween. He developed a scary cough, intestinal symptoms and a headache. In the midst of a pandemic, the news that he had COVID-19 wasn't surprising, but Papenfus' illness would have repercussions far beyond his own health.

Papenfus is the lone full-time emergency room doctor in the town of 900, not far from the Kansas line.

facebook.com/RepKendraHorn

Republicans strengthened their hold on the state’s politics this election cycle, flipping the only Democratic-held seat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation back to red and making gains in the state House. But for Democrats to be competitive in Oklahoma again, they will have to fight a steep, uphill battle.

Hookworm is an intestinal parasite often associated with poor sewage treatment and the developing world. It was long thought to have been eradicated from the United States — until a 2017 study revealed otherwise.

According to the study, more than one in three people in Alabama's Lowndes County tested positive for hookworm infection.

Registered nurse Pascaline Muhindura has spent the last eight months treating COVID-19 patients at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

But when she returns home to her small town of Spring Hill, Kansas, she's often stunned by what she sees, like on a recent stop for carryout.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

As the demand for intensive care among Oklahoma’s coronavirus patients continues to surge, the system is seeing strain from beginning to end — from ambulance services, to small-town hospitals, to the state’s metro health systems.

President-elect Joe Biden will be taking over a country that is even more sharply divided on urban-rural lines. One of the biggest reasons why the divide got bigger in 2020 may be the coronavirus pandemic.

For conservatives such as Judy Burges, a longtime state legislator from rural Arizona, President Trump did as well as he could have managing the response to COVID-19. As she waited in line to vote this fall, Burges said the economic fallout has been worse in small towns dependent on small businesses.

Flickr / Rental Realities

Thousands of evictions have been filed in Oklahoma since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. While a CDC moratorium protects people with evictions filed against them until the end of the year, some rural areas lack legal resources. Some experts say there needs to be more protections to keep people in their homes.

As the last few thousand votes are counted in a handful of states that will determine the outcome of a momentous presidential race, the question rises again from some corners: Should we ditch the Electoral College?

Bill Wheelhouse / Harvest Public Media

The surge in online shopping is helping the U.S. Postal Service stay afloat financially, but the influx of packages is straining rural letter carriers across the country.

Quinton Chandler / KOSU

Updated 12:37 a.m.

A record number of Oklahomans voted this year. More than 1.5 million Oklahomans cast ballots during the 2020 general election, beating 2016's number of about 1.4 million. Oklahoma also saw about an 175% increase in mail and absentee voting compared to 2016.

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