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PM NewsBrief: Nov. 29, 2022

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

RSV pediatric hospitalization surge

Oklahoma is experiencing a surge in pediatric hospitalizations, like the rest of the country, because of a respiratory virus that is not COVID. But it’s unclear how many children have actually been infected.

A spike in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, hit the country hard this fall and is still going. Among other things, the virus inflames and tightens airways. This is especially concerning in small children because their airways are already so tiny.

For the past few weeks, pediatric hospital statewide occupancy has been around 80 percent. That figure is a 3-day average, so there are times when the hospitals are significantly more full. However, it’s unclear how many of the children being hospitalized have RSV because it’s not a so-called reportable disease. So unlike COVID or STIs, health providers don’t have to report RSV cases to the state.

PSO price increase

The Public Service Company of Oklahoma is proposing a price increase to pay for improvements to the electrical grid. The average resident will see an increase of about $14 a month.

PSO says it needs $173 million more revenue annually to update the power grid. It would use the money to expand its renewable energy fleet and bolster the grid so power outages are less frequent, shorter and smaller. PSO serves about 562,000 customers, the vast majority of whom live in the Tulsa area.

In a press release, PSO says it acknowledges the extra financial strain on families, but the extra costs will help protect customers long-term from the expensive fallout of disaster events.

This proposal comes on top of another one earlier this month, which asks for an increase of about $3.50 a month to cover purchasing renewable energy facilities. The state’s Corporation Commission will have to weigh in on the proposals before they can go forward.

An Oklahoma District Attorney arrested on child pornography charges

An Oklahoma prosecutor was arrested Monday as result of a child pornography investigation.

According to a news release, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation arrested Assistant District Attorney Kevin Etherington on Child Pornography Charges after searching his home in Stillwater.

Investigators say about a dozen tips pointed them to Etherington.

He had worked as a prosecutor in Logan and Payne counties for eight years.

Norman Public Schools approves bond election

Norman Public Schools could be getting a facelift following the approval of a new bond election.

On Monday, the board approved a $354 million bond question that will be in voters' hands next year.

The district said the money would go toward a number of things, such as classroom upgrades, roof replacements and a new stadium at Norman North. The plan also includes a new all-school performance venue, playgrounds, parking lots and campus security improvements.

The election is set to take place Feb. 14 of next year.

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