In The Know: Daily COVID count doubles previous record | Nursing home deaths top 500 | Public bodies will meet in person after Nov. 15

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma officials place responsibility on state residents after huge surge in COVID cases: Another record-setting day of new COVID-19 infections prompted state health officials and Gov. Kevin Stitt to plead for Oklahomans to take precautions to slow the spread of the virus. The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 4,507 new infections on Saturday, shattering the previous daily record of 2,101 that was set on Thursday, and moving Oklahoma’s 7-day average to near 2,000 new cases. [The Oklahoman]

Pandemic deaths at Oklahoma nursing homes and other long-term care facilities hits ‘painful milestone’: The COVID-19 death toll at Oklahoma nursing homes and other long-term care facilities has surpassed 500 as the second surge of the pandemic intensifies in the state. Health officials reported in the latest epidemiology report that 516 residents from such facilities and four staff have died so far due to the coronavirus. More than 100 of the resident deaths have been since Oct. 1. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

As pandemic gets worse than ever, Oklahoma public bodies must resume meeting in person: The COVID-19 pandemic has never been worse in Oklahoma, and at the end of this week, public bodies must go back to meeting in person. A temporary change to the state’s open meetings act that allowed remote meetings expires on Sunday. [Public Radio Tulsa] The situation has many who serve on the boards of public bodies – and the corporations that may employ those individuals – more than a little concerned over how the shifting legal and medical landscape may put employees and their organizations at risk. [The Journal Record]

Proposed bill would give defective mail-in ballots a chance to be fixed and counted: Lawmakers next session may get a chance to vote on legislation that would allow those who mailed in defective ballots to fix them and have their votes counted. Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, said she would carry the legislation but has not decided on the language it will contain. [Tulsa World]

State asks highest court to consider blood quantum limit: The state of Oklahoma is asking the state’s highest court to determine whether a specific amount of Native American blood is needed in order to challenge the state’s criminal jurisdiction. [McAlester News Capital]

Federal Government News

As Biden wins presidency, Oklahoma Republicans push falsehoods, unfounded claims: In the days and hours leading up to Vice President Joe Biden being declared the nation’s next president, Oklahoma Republicans pushed a baseless narrative accusing Democrats, the media and others of attempting to “steal” the election. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • Oklahoma leaders react to Joe Biden’s projected win [The Oklahoman]
  • Lucas, Cole urge faith in elections, while Lankford and Mullin raise partisan concerns [The Oklahoman]
  • Trump supporters attack usual suspects at state Capitol rally [The Oklahoman]
  • Tulsa Trump supporters host ‘Protect the Vote’ rally in protest over presidential election results [Tulsa World]

Man at center of tribal sovereignty ruling again convicted: A member of the Seminole Nation has been convicted in federal court of sexually assaulting a child after the U.S. Supreme Court in July ruled that Oklahoma prosecutors did not have authority to pursue charges against American Indians in parts of the state. [AP News] Jimcy McGirt, 72, was retried after the U.S. Supreme Court in July threw out his 1997 state convictions and no parole life sentence.  [Tulsa World]

New tribal law assuages medical marijuana patients’ post-McGirt enforcement concerns: In hopes of assuaging uncertainty about medical marijuana law enforcement after a Supreme Court decision ruled much of eastern Oklahoma to be reservation land, one tribe has passed new legislation protecting licensed patients. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

COVID cases decrease in Oklahoma prisons, but still active: COVID-19 is still circulating in Oklahoma prisons, but case counts are down after a massive spike in infections in late August and early September. The Department of Corrections reported today there are 109 prisoners and 86 corrections employees infected with the disease. [KOSU]

Economy & Business News

Pandemic disrupts inventory for appliances, increases demand for repairs: If your fridge is on the fritz or your dishwasher’s skipping the dirty work, chances are that replacing or repairing them could be difficult. [Tulsa World]

Education News

The week in coveducation: OKCPS bringing students back, coalition calls for mask mandate: Oklahoma City Public Schools will be proceeding with their plans of bringing back all students in-person on an A/B schedule this week. The OKCPS Board of Education will meet Monday evening, and the State Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12. [NonDoc]

  • ‘We’re in a good place’: TPS to begin in-person pre-k, kindergarten classes Monday [Tulsa World]
  • Broken Arrow high school students going remote amid ‘all-time high’ virus spread [Tulsa World]
  • Bixby, Broken Arrow High Schools shut down because of high COVID numbers [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Hayes Elementary School goes to distance learning due to COVID-19 [Enid News & Eagle]

General News

What’s the matter with Pennsylvania? Oklahoma’s quick vote count celebrated, but is a much different process than others: In a Facebook post that hinted at some of the false claims the president has made about the ongoing election count, Sen. James Lankford asked why vote counting was taking so long in a handful of states, while the process seemed smooth in Oklahoma. [The Frontier]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Wind hampers OKC-area power restoration, work continues Monday [The Oklahoman]
  • Local non-profits serve thousands during ice storm [The Oklahoman]
  • Five things to know about industrial employment in Oklahoma City [The Oklahoman]
  • After national attention, Turner digs into real local issues in OKC HD-88 [OKC Free Press]
  • Tulsans asked for safety, connectivity improvements in ‘Let’s Talk Tulsa Parks’ meetings [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Osage Nation Principal Chief tests positive for COVID-19 [Osage News]
  • Jenks City Council to consider mask mandate on Tuesday [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We have no reason to believe our revised number is an anomaly, but instead shows community spread is occurring.”

-Oklahoma State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye about Saturday’s record case count, which was revised on Sunday but was still double the previous daily record [Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Saturday’s revised COVID-19 daily case count for Oklahoma, which more than doubled the previous record of 2,101 from two days earlier.…/after-record-shattering-saturday-state-releases-no-sunday-covid-numbers

[Source: Oklahoma State Department of Health]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

State variation in seasonal flu vaccination: Implications for a COVID-19 vaccine: As states consider the logistics of what will likely be an unprecedented vaccination campaign, analysis of routine vaccination rates by state may help to shed light on differential uptake across the country as well as inform where more targeted efforts might be needed. Specifically, we analyzed seasonal flu vaccination rates for the 2019-2020 flu season by state, as well as across states by age, race/ethnicity, and health risk status. While there are important differences between COVID-19 and seasonal flu, including that COVID-19 is much more serious and that the federal government has said it will ensure the vaccine is provided free to all even those who are uninsured, these findings point to several potential challenges to rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine across the United States. [KFF]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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