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StateImpact Oklahoma

Visitors enter an emergency room at a rural Oklahoma hospital.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

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.


Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister answers a question at the Central Oklahoma PPE distribution warehouse where supplies for schools are being distributed Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma state schools’ superintendent Joy Hofmeister believes mandating masks in classrooms is key to slowing COVID-19’s spread.


KGOU

This is the Manager’s Minute.  

Now that the general election is behind us, the KGOU and StateImpact Oklahoma team is re-grouping and focusing on the rest of the year. We just came through a remarkable period – with extensive election reporting, and coverage of the coronavirus and historic ice storm. Our team pulled together under difficult conditions. 

Oklahoma County Commissioners Allocate $15 Million In CARES Funds For Small Businesses

Nov 16, 2020
The Oklahoma County Budget Board meets on November 16, 2020.
Screenshot

The Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners on Monday decided to give $15 million in coronavirus relief funds to a program designed to help businesses, nonprofits and other community organizations hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oklahoma’s State Board Of Education Begs Local School Leaders To Mandate Masks

Nov 13, 2020

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education again passed a motion further encouraging but not requiring school districts to mandate masks in their classrooms.

Josh Brock, Epic Charter School’s CFO, is seen at a board meeting on Oct. 16, 2019.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

A group of Republican lawmakers are calling for an investigative audit of Oklahoma’s State Department of Education in the wake of state auditor Cindy Byrd’s explosive report about Epic Charter Schools.

Prisoners attend a graduation ceremony at Dick Conner Correctional Center. Educational programs are one way prisoners earn credits to take time off their sentences.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Glen Blake told the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board this month that his clients seeking parole were just hit with hard news.

With his face mask down around his neck, Stitt encouraged Oklahomans to wear a face mask, but said that he will not consider placing a face mask mandate on Oklahoma.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Continued growth in Oklahoma’s coronavirus cases have led to a heightened push for statewide mask mandates, but public health officials say that’s not likely.

Epic Virtual Charter Schools’ Cloudy Future Leaves Families Searching For Clarity

Oct 22, 2020
A sign is seen outside of 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City where Epic Charter Schools leases 40,000 square feet for administrative use.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Christina Glenn knows her son’s success is due to Epic Virtual Charter Schools.

Brendan Glenn had been struggling in high school before transferring to Epic halfway through 9th grade. And now, the senior is on track to graduate.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health building in Oklahoma City.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s plan to move the state public health laboratory is getting more criticism. A national lab association is raising concerns about the interim facility and uprooting the lab during a pandemic.

ACT Scores Continue To Decline In Oklahoma

Oct 20, 2020

Oklahoma's ACT scores are continuing to decline. Recently released numbers from the tester show the state’s average score fell for the second straight year.

An Epic advertisement at an Oklahoma City mall.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s Statewide Virtual Charter School Board started the process to end its contract and support for Epic Virtual Charter Schools Tuesday afternoon.

 

In this May 23, 1944 file photo, the organism treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis, is seen through an electron microscope.
AP

Over the past six months, we’ve gotten pretty familiar with terms we hadn’t heard regularly before, like contact tracers and infectious disease intervention specialists. But they’re not new. Before the coronavirus, many of Oklahoma’s workers in that sector had their eye on another disease: syphilis.

Oklahoma is finally getting a new public health lab, but it won’t be in Oklahoma City.

Teacher Testing Becoming Available Across Oklahoma

Oct 1, 2020
https://sde.ok.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/2020SEP18%20-%20Teacher%20Testing.pdf

Oklahoma’s State Department of Health has begun a program to provide free COVID-19 testing for school teachers across the state.

Facebook / Stillwater Public Schools

Six parents of Stillwater Public Schools students are suing their children’s district over its distance learning policies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

‘We Are Still Human Beings’ Oklahoma Prisoners, Officials Adjust As COVID-19 Spreads

Sep 24, 2020
A woman waves from a prison window at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in 2019.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

In the early days of the pandemic, Geneva Phillips was ordered to stay in her bunk nearly all day for almost a month. She remembers being sore and miserable.

Daniel Hargreaves / Flickr

Oklahoma has seen its second case of rabies in a bat in the past six weeks and health officials say it’s a good reminder to take precautions against the disease.

Oklahoma Commissioner of Health, Dr. Lance Frye, wears a face mask as he listens to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speak at a news conference Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

As Oklahoma’s coronavirus cases climb, the state has reached a new record for its seven-day average.

 

Registered nurse Raquel Hernandez reaches in to swab a passenger for a COVID-19 test at a mobile testing site at the Murray County Expo Center in Sulphur, Okla., Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Sulphur, Okla.
Sue Ogrocki / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is nearing one thousand deaths from COVID-19 complications. Like everywhere else, the people dying here have a high rate of what are called comorbidities, or underlying health conditions. They make it harder for the body to fight the virus, and they make death from it more likely.

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