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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: March 31 - April 6

Coronavirus in Oklahoma: March 31 - April 6
Posted at 9:43 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 10:43:15-04

Oklahoma's number of possible Coronavirus cases are being monitored by state and local health officials.

Below are the blog events that took place from March 31 through April 6.

April 6, 2020

An Oklahoma federal district judge granted a temporary restraining order that allows providers to continue essential and time-sensitive abortion care, officials say. This order was at the request of Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of American and Dechert LLP. Officials say this order is in spit of Gov. Kevin Stitt's order that required all minor medical procedures and elective surgeries to be postponed. The temporary restraining order allows medication abortions to resume in the state of Oklahoma, as well as abortion procedures for those patients that would be "pushed beyond the gestation limit for care." “The court has stopped Governor Stitt from exploiting this devastating pandemic as a weapon in his battle to ban abortion,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Abortion is time-sensitive, essential healthcare. Women in Oklahoma are again able, for the time being, to access abortion care in their state at a time when travel is even more challenging.” "It’s a huge relief that we can start seeing patients again, at least for now,” said Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women. “We hope the court will keep the ban blocked so our patients aren’t forced to travel to other states to find abortion care at a time when travel is risky and discouraged.” “Though this is a relief for patients, they should have never had to wait for a judge to rule before accessing the time-sensitive care they needed. Gov. Stitt is wasting valuable time and resources using the COVID-19 pandemic to score political points,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “To politicians and anti-abortion groups playing political games amid a pandemic, let this be a lesson to you that we won’t allow you to put our patients and the community at risk.” “Planned Parenthood is committed to ensuring that every person is able to get the essential health care they need,” McGill Johnson continued. “But the same cannot be said for Gov. Stitt. Planned Parenthood will work day by day, week by week to safeguard the ability of patients and the community to access essential health care, no matter what.” “Today’s ruling is important because our patients need and deserve access to abortion care,” said Brandon Hill, Ph.D., president and CEO of Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains. “Abortion is an essential and time-sensitive medical procedure that should not be caught in the crosshairs of political agendas—especially during this public health crisis. Access to health care is a basic human right, and every person deserves care that gives them control over their own bodies, lives, and futures. Planned Parenthood Great Plains will always be there for our patients. We will do everything in our power to ensure access for patients who need sexual and reproductive health care, including access to abortion.”

April 6, 2020
1:48 p.m.

Governor Stitt announced today that he has postponed the special meeting of the Board of Equalization. Stitt says he has postponed the meeting after becoming aware of a technical issue "in the legislation by the House of Representatives to address the revenue shortfall in the Fiscal 2020 budget." “We have to resolve some additional items before the Board of Equalization can certify the full revenue failure of $416 million,” said Gov. Stitt. “I look forward to working with the House and Senate over the next week to negotiate the budget for the remainder of this fiscal year and for FY21.” SB 1053 was approved today by the House to tap into the Rainy Day Fund for $201 million as a means to mitigate the expected revenue failure.

April 6, 2020
11:04 a.m.

Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today there are a total of 1,327 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the State. Officials say there have been an additional five deaths: two in Greer County (a man and woman older than 65), one in Oklahoma County (a man between 18-35 years old), one in Osage County (a woman older than 65), and one in Pottawatomie Couty (a man older than 65). There are currently 249 positive cases of COVID-19 in Tulsa County, according to OSDH.

April 6, 2020
9:56 a.m.

Officials with Hillcrest announced a temporary reduction in staff due to the impact of coronavirus. Officials say that Hillcrest has temporarily furloughed approximately 600 employees, which is about 9% of the total staff. Officials say the furlough "is expected to last up to 90 days, however, employees could be called back sooner than that. “As the virus continues to spread, we must ensure we can provide life-saving care with the necessary caregivers and resources we have available,” said Kevin Gross, CEO of Hillcrest HealthCare System. “As a result, we’ve had to make difficult workforce decisions.” “We know this is a difficult time for workers and families,” Gross said. “We are hopeful that these measures will be short-lived. We are grateful for the service of all staff members and we remain hopeful that over the next few months, we will return to normal hours for our employees.

April 5, 2020
6:53 p.m.

President Donald Trump has approved Governor Kevin Stitt's request for a Major Disaster Declaration covering all 77 Oklahoma counties.

April 5, 2020
1:56 p.m.

The City of Claremore has announced a Stay at Home Order in response to COVID-19.
It prohibits all public events, private events and social gatherings outside of a family or living unit. The order begins April 6, 2020 at 8 a.m. and extends through April 30, 2020.

April 3, 2020
1:48 p.m.

The Tulsa Health Department will temporarily move services for Family Planning, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and Immunization Services at the North Regional Health and Wellness Center to Central Regional Health Center and James O. Goodwin Health Center beginning April 6. Clients will be directed to seek services at these two open locations.

During this time, a limited number of WIC and Outreach employees will remain in the building to assist clients by telephone. For questions about services call 918-582-9355 or click here.

April 3, 2020
12:25 p.m.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that 36 Oklahoma Tribes are set to receive $28,822,877 of COVID-19 relief funding. “When President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law, he wanted to ensure that American Indian Tribes received the assistance they needed to combat the coronavirus,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “HUD remains committed to providing Tribes with the tools they need during this national emergency to continue to create safe, affordable housing opportunities for their communities.”

April 3, 2020
11:03 a.m.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says there are now 988 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Oklahoma. Officials say there are four new deaths; three being in Tulsa County ( all women older than 65) and one in Cleveland County (a female older than 65). Officials say this brings the state's total deaths to 38. In Tulsa County there are 175 positive coronavirus cases with eight deaths total at this time, according to the OSDH website.

April 3, 2020
10:19 a.m.

Attorney General Mike Hunter announced a warning to Oklahomans of potential fraud surrounding the economic impact payments from the federal government. “The majority of individuals who qualify for the one-time payment don’t have to do anything except wait for the money to be deposited in their bank accounts or checks will come in the mail,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Although some details are still being finalized, I encourage Oklahomans to stay patient. Only get information from trusted sources, ignore text messages or emails claiming to expedite the process and contact my office about any suspicious offers. Regrettably, these scams, and more, are already beginning to surface. Oklahomans who are anxiously awaiting this money must, nevertheless, be on high alert.” For more information on the resources on the Coronavirus tax relief, click here.

The following advice has been issued in an official press release from the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit:

  • Federal agencies will not email or text individuals regarding Coronavirus economic impact payments. If an unsolicited email or text comes from a federal agency with information about the money or anything else related to the Coronavirus, it is a scam that could infect someone’s computer with malware or ransomware.
  • There is no fee to receive stimulus money. If someone says there is, they are a con artist, and you should terminate the conversation.
  • No one can expedite payments. Do not trust anyone claiming to be able to perform this service.

April 2, 2020
7:39 a.m.
The University of Oklahoma announced Thursday that it will hold a virtual graduation ceremony for May graduates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual ceremony is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8, according to a statement released by OU officials. Officials say graduation candidates can also attend the rescheduled in-person ceremonies held on Saturday, Aug. 8, and Sunday, Aug. 9, in the Lloyd Noble Center. For more information regarding OU's virtual commencement, click here.

The University of Oklahoma announced Thursday that it will hold a virtual graduation ceremony for May graduates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual ceremony is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8, according to a statement released by OU officials. Officials say graduation candidates can also attend the rescheduled in-person ceremonies held on Saturday, Aug. 8, and Sunday, Aug. 9, in the Lloyd Noble Center. For more information regarding OU's virtual commencement, click here.
April 2, 2020
3:30 a.m.

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Public Safety announced it will eliminate face-to-face in-office interactions with the public, effective Friday, April 3. "The Department of Public Safety and our extraordinary employees are committed to providing necessary services to all our citizens at this very challenging time. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the online tools we offer in order to meet your needs," said DPS Commissioner John Scully, . To utilize it's online services, click here. You can also visit www.ok.gov/dps or call 405-425-2424 for assistance.

April 2, 2020
11:15 a.m.

Mulitple cities in Oklahoma have new regional drive-thru testing sites open due to city, cross-county and state health system partnerships, officials say. Click here for a list of the drive-thru testing sites throughout Oklahoma.

April 2, 2020
11:00 a.m.

Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced there are now 879 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. Officials say there are also four new deaths. Two of the deaths are from Tulsa County, one in Stephens County and one in Muskogee County, officials say. At this time, there are 1,265 negative test results in the state, officials say.

April 2, 2020
10:06 a.m.

Governor Stitt issued an order today that declares a health emergency in all 77 counties in Oklahoma for the next 30 days. “Now is the time to align all public health entities in the state as we work together to prepare for a surge in demand on our hospitals,” said Gov. Stitt. “This will allow us to coordinate resources and ensure all Oklahomans have the best access to the medical care they need.” The order also allows health care professionals who had left to "quickly rejoin" the fight against coronavirus, and protects first responders by aiding them with their PPE. Officials say, "By loosening some restrictions, first responders will be able to know if the home they are dispatched to has a resident who has tested positive for COVID-19. Patient names and other identifying information will still be restricted." “It is so important that our first responders can protect themselves if they are entering a home with a COVID-19 patient,” said Gov. Stitt. “Notifying them ahead of their arrival allows them to use their PPE more efficiently.”

April 2, 2020
8:35 a.m.

Officials with Hunger Free Oklahoma announced today that they are pairing Tulsa Public Schools sites with locally owned-restaurants to help give free meals to families struggling during the coronavirus pandemic through their new program "Tulsa Kitchens Unite." The goal is to help feed local families, keep local kitchens open and keep workers paid. “We are grateful to Mayor Bynum, Bruce Dart, and other leaders for making critical decisions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Tulsa,” said Chris Bernard, executive director at Hunger Free Oklahoma. “We are also grateful to so many of our community partners who are working at or above capacity to make sure Tulsans in need have access to food, including two of our partners in this program the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and Tulsa Public Schools. Finally, we are grateful to the Foundations who are supporting so many efforts around the city including this one.” At this time, the first kitchens to partner in the program are Chimera, Blue Dome Market, Lefty’s on Greenwood, and Catering by PARTYSERVE. If you are interested in being a partner kitchen, click here. “You’ll notice we didn’t limit it to restaurants,” said Bernard, “If you’ve got a food truck, a catering business, or any local business with the capacity to prepare the specified meals and chill them at our specifications – we would love to talk to you.” If you are interesting in donating to the Tulsa Kitchens Unite cause, click here.
Officials say the meal distribution times, days, and locations will be coordinated within the coming days and the Tulsa Kitchens Unite programs plans to begin at several pilot sites next week.

April 1, 2020
5:27 p.m.
The City of Owasso issued residents to shelter in place. Officials say this will take effect April 1 at midnight through April 14 at 6:30 p.m.

April 1, 2020
2:04 p.m.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today that the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program has an online application for both new and existing clients. The new online application is in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. WIC clients can now process funtions over the phone and electronically, officials say. Also, nutrition education is online through self-paced lessons. To apply online, click here.
For more information on the Oklahoma State Department of Health's WIC program, click here.

April 1, 2020
12:00 p.m.

Mayor Bynum announced today that he will be extending his Stay-at-Home order through April 30, due to the federal guidelines. "We have entered into a partnership with Tulsa County to provide expanded sheltering for homeless Tulsans," says Bynum. The third announcement was made for small business owners. Bynum announced the Resilience and Recovery Fund in Tulsa which is to assist small business to stay in gear and growing in Tulsa. Loan applications will be accepted immediately, at no interest, to provide immediate funding to those businesses in need. To apply, click here or call 918-585-8332.

Below is more information from today's news conference:

Temporary Homeless Shelter Funding
"We have entered into a partnership with Tulsa County to provide expanded sheltering for homeless Tulsans," says Bynum. The City of Tulsa has partnered with Tulsa County and are working to secure funding to operate a temporary homeless shelter at the former Juvenile Justice Detention Center.

Local Business Resources
Bynum announced the Resilience and Recovery Fund in Tulsa which is to assist small business to stay in gear and growing in Tulsa. Loan applications will be accepted immediately, at no interest, to provide immediate funding to those businesses in need. To apply, click here or call 918-585-8332.

Federal CARES Act
Officials say, "The Tulsa Regional Chamber has several resources to help small businesses with less than 500 employees understand and take advantage of the $2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which authorizes loans with a 4 percent interest rate that are 100 percent guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Business owners should prepare to apply as quickly as possible."

Tenant Rights Webinar April 3
A Way Home For Tulsa, Tulsa’s continuum of care, is set to host a free webinar on tenant rights during the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, April 3 at 9:30 a.m. To register online, click here.

Tulsa County Update
The Tulsa County Election Board has received all resolutions to reschedule the April 7 election, official say. The school board elections will now take place on June 30. Both LaFortune Park Golf Course and South Lakes Golf Course in Jenks are closed until further notice, officials say.

THD Accepting PPE Donations
Officials say "Corporate, industrial or medical partners looking to donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should email covid19donations@cityoftulsa.org. Currently, THD is unable to accept private household donations. Items collected will be given to the Regional Medical Response System."

NextDoor New Help Map Available
Neighbors can now mark themselves as someone that can pitch in for those in need of aid on the NextDoor app. The app now has a new Help Map where neighbors can mark themselves as a person that can "safely drop off groceries for your home-bound neighbors or hop on the phone to check in on elderly and at-risk neighbors, add yourself to the Help Map and share how you can support others. " If a neighbors is in need of assistance, they can also message you through the new Help Map.

April 1, 2020
11:19 a.m.

Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) says that in accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed by the president last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted OKDHS to issue to SNAP customers emergency allotments. Officials say this is to "address temporary food needs due to pandemic-related economic conditions of the COVID-19 virus." Officials say the allotment allows SNAP customers to receive up to the maximum monthly amount based on their household size. Officials went on to say, "Only SNAP households who do not currently receive the maximum benefit amount for their household size will receive this supplement. Supplements will be delivered on the household’s existing EBT card. The supplements are currently approved for the months of March and April 2020. No application or request for this supplement is required and SNAP customers do not need to contact OKDHS or their caseworkers."

April 1, 2020
11:13 a.m.

Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that there are now a total of 719 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. Officials say there are an additional seven deaths: three in Oklahoma County, one in Greer County, one in Kay County, one in Mayes County and one in Osage County. Officials say there are a total of 115 cases in Tulsa County.

March 31, 2020
10:30 p.m.
Saint Francis Health System announced Tuesday that it will perform COVID-19 testing in-house. Instead of sending test specimens to out-of-state commercial labs for processing, officials say they will be processed in the Saint Francis Laboratory and can expect result within 24 hours. “Initially, our in-house testing capabilities were limited. Like most hospitals, we didn’t have enough kits. The Saint Francis Center for Genetic Testing was able to manually process about 75 tests a day—these tests were being used for critical inpatients and emergency department patients,” said Doug Williams, senior vice president and administrator of Saint Francis Hospital. “Now, we have the ability to serve our patient population in a way that is congruent with how most of our testing is done.” If you would like to learn more information about Saint Francis Health System, click here.

March 31, 2020
8:19 p.m.
Broken Arrow announced Tuesday it has issued a shelter in place order for all residents, effective April 1 through April 30.

March 31, 2020
7:08 p.m.
Bixby Mayor Brian Guthrie issued a shelter at home order Tuesday as an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Guthrie said, "Today, I signed an Executive Order with provisions pertaining to all ages for the City of Bixby. This is a Shelter at Home Order that is meant to save lives in our community! If you are an employer listed as an essential business please take all precautions to protect your employees and your patrons by maintaining at least 6’ of distance and sanitizing to whatever extent possible. If you need to leave your home for an essential item, please consider the necessity before taking the entire family to do so. We do not expect the peak of this virus to reach our a City for another couple of weeks and the situation will only progress in the meantime. Please do what you can to prevent the spread of this virus in our community. Also, please keep an eye out for our elderly and those who need an extra hand during this time. This is a temporary situation that will pass. Lives will be disrupted as well as businesses. There will also be good things that come out of this as well. We will take this situation day by day at this time and adapt as we must."

March 31, 2020
3:21 p.m.

Tulsa Transit announced today that starting tomorrow, April 1, they will be temporarily offering free fares to all passengers system-wide. Officials say this will include fixed route, nightline, Sunsay and Lift services. Officials say the free fares will last through the month "pending social distancing compliance." Officials say, "The implementation of free fare is another way to ensure the safety of riders and employees. The continuation of this measure will depend upon the feasibility of riders respecting COVID-19 rules already in place such as the limitation of passengers per bus and keeping three to six feet of distance from others." “Tulsa Transit realizes that many in the community rely on our services but we ask that trips be used for essential trips to work, medical appointments or the grocery store,” said Ted Rieck, Tulsa Transit General Manager.
For more information, click here.

March 31, 2020
11:08 a.m.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced there are now 565 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. Officials say there are six new deaths, including three in Oklahoma County (a man and woman in the 50-64 age group), one in Canadian County (a man older than 65), one in Muskogee County (a man older than 65) and one in Wagoner County (a man older than 65). Officials say this makes the total coronavirus related deaths in the state, 23. There are currently 1, 229 negative test results, officials say. In Tulsa County, officials say there are 83 positive cases of coronavirus.
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