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PM NewsBrief: August 2, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Oklahoma has ten confirmed cases of Monkeypox

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health identified another case of Monkeypox.

So far, health officials have confirmed ten cases of the virus in the state: four of the cases are located in northeast Oklahoma, and six others are in central parts of the state.

Symptoms can include fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, as well as firm lesions. According to the state health department, symptoms develop about 12 days after infection.

The department urges anyone who could have the virus to seek out a health provider.

DHS director resigns

The Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services announced he will resign later this month.

After more than three years of leading the DHS, Director Justin Brown announced he will resign on Aug. 19. He will continue to serve as secretary of human services within Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet.

In a news release announcing his departure, Brown trumpeted his accomplishments.

For example, he recently secured more than $30 million in funding to clear the state’s 13-year long developmental disabilities waiting list by 2024. DHS also gave $27 million of unspent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program funds to 11 different nonprofits that focus on family stability.

Gov. Stitt, who appointed Brown in 2019, will also appoint his successor.

Unemployment numbers are rising in Oklahoma

In its latest report, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says unemployment claims across all categories are trending up.

O-E-S-C Executive Director Shelly Zumwalt says a seasonal increase in claims during June and July is not uncommon, but she added the current economic environment of the nation could be contributing to the rise in jobless numbers.

The Cherokee Nation is expanding fund to assist citizens with housing payments.

The Cherokee Nation’s Housing Assistance Fund is being expanded to help citizens who are still experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund was created by the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation at the beginning of the pandemic with funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

To be eligible, the homeowner or their cohabitating partner must be a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the home must be in a county covered in whole or in part by the Cherokee Nation.

More information and applications can be found at hacn.org.

Oklahoma is on the lookout for college students to join its Math Tutoring Corps

As Oklahoma gears up for a new school year, the State Department of Education is seeking college students to help middle schoolers in math.

The idea is simple and has been around for a while in Oklahoma.

College students are paid to tutor middle schoolers in math in online sessions three times a week.

The state hopes to support up to 1,500 middle schoolers this fall and will pay college students $25 per hour for their work.

The program has already shown some success, with the vast majority of student participants reporting they improved their math skills as a result.

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