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Tulsa mayor not considering new mask order, urges vaccinations

Posted at 11:40 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 15:14:41-04

TULSA, Okla. — The City of Tulsa held its first COVID-19 news conference on Friday since the city's mask order expired.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart hosted the virtual news conference as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge again in the county and throughout Oklahoma.

MORE >>> TRACKING CORONAVIRUS: Cases in Tulsa County, Oklahoma rising

"We are not going to mask our way out of this surge," Bynum says.

"I'm not considering a mask order for Tulsa because the data is not indicating that it will solve the threat... Please get vaccinated if you haven't been already."

Since the city's last news conference on April 29, 129 more people have died from COVID-19 in Tulsa County as of Aug. 4.

There have been 8,595 new cases in that timespan, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

“What was once a threat to an older community is now a threat to another generation," Dart said as he emphasized the shift in infections to younger groups of people with the emergence of the Delta variant.

Dart says the average age of recent COVID-19 patients is 42-44 as opposed to people 60 and over in last year's surge.

The most recent three-day average for COVID-19 hospitalizations in Tulsa County stands at 351 individuals, with 111 in an ICU, according to the Tulsa Health Department.

As of Aug. 6, 17.1 percent of hospitalizations are COVID-19 patients, a similar percentage to numbers seen in late January.

Friday's news conference included several local hospital leaders as guests:

  • Dr. Cliff Robertson, Saint Francis Health System CEO
  • Dr. Guy Sneed, Hillcrest Healthcare System Chief Medical Officer
  • Dr. Mousumi Som, OSU Medical Center Chief of Staff
  • Jeff Nowlin, Ascension St. John CEO
  • Dr. Anuj Malik, Ascension St. John Infectious Disease Medical Director

"This has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Ascension St. John CEO Jeff Nowlin said Friday.

Less than six percent of Oklahoma's COVID-19 "breakthrough" cases happened to vaccinated individuals in July, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health's weekly report from Aug. 4.

Active COVID-19 case rate in Tulsa County
A look at the Tulsa Health Department's COVID-19 Daily New Active Case Rates map showing the rate of new cases by zip code. April 28, 2021 vs. Aug. 4, 2021.

Zip Code Risk Level Guidance via Tulsa Health Department:


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