In The Know: Oklahoma virus count approaches 2,000; renters, landlords face uncertain future; and more

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. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Politics at the center of recent budget empasse (Capitol Update): Last week’s budget impasse began one of those standoffs the public finds distasteful. Without knowing exactly what’s going on behind the scenes, we usually just blame both sides and consider it politics as usual. Yes, this is politics, but it’s also the way our democracy works. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma virus count nears 2,000 cases: Oklahoma neared two landmark figures in COVID-19 deaths and confirmed cases on Sunday as officials cautiously announced that social distancing appears to be working to slow the virus’s spread. Two Tulsa County men, whose deaths were confirmed to be related to the disease, brought the state’s total number of victims to 96 as confirmed cases reached 1,970, according to Oklahoma State Department of Health data released Sunday. [Tulsa World] Visit for the latest COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma.

Renters and landlords face uncertain future amid COVID-19: A pause in residential evictions while the state deals with the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the whole landlord-tenant dynamic on its head. [Tulsa World] OK Policy: Policymakers must do more to prevent evictions and foreclosures during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 modeling, numbers and news worth noting: As COVID-19 continues to upend American life and receive a necessary but sometimes overwhelming amount of news coverage, it can be tough to keep track of all the storylines. NonDoc has gathered key COVID-19 tracking resources, as well as a few stories from local and national outlets that you may have missed. [NonDoc]

Health News

LeFlore County’s health system was turning into ‘a big little hospital.’ COVID-19 derailed growth, jeopardizing future of it and other rural hospitals: Bob Carter has dedicated himself toward building “a big little hospital” in Poteau to take care of the LeFlore County community in which he grew up. The Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center labored to climb out of a “pretty huge deficit” from 18 months ago, almost to the point of profitability. [Tulsa World]

Autopsies put state pathologists on front lines, too: Oklahoma’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Eric Pfeifer, said he thinks his office should be testing all deaths that fall under its jurisdiction — even homicides — to get a better idea of the prevalence of the coronavirus. [The Oklahoman]

Study shows Oklahomans among most vulnerable to COVID-19 impact: As the number of Oklahoma illnesses connected to COVID-19 exposure continue to grow, a new study shows that the state is among the nation’s most vulnerable to its impact. The new report, released recently by Innerbody Research, has Oklahoma residents ranked number five among the most vulnerable of the 50 states. [Lawton Constitution]

Federal Government News

COVID-19 claims two more Oklahomans, as Horn urges hazard pay for front line workers: U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn called Sunday for health care workers to receive hazard pay from their employers, which could be reimbursed by the federal government. [The Oklahoman] The Hazard Pay for the Frontlines During Health Emergencies Act would require healthcare workers to receive an additional 25 percent of their salary as hazard pay during public health emergencies from their employers. [FOX25]

Economy & Business News

New program aims to help Oklahoma manufacturers impacted by coronavirus: The Manufacturing Reboot Program can use up to $5 million from the governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund to help manufacturers. [KTUL]

Education News

Norman Public School teachers, administrators prioritize connection during distance learning: As Norman Public Schools, along with districts across the state, shifted to distance learning this week, teachers and administrators have been focused not on teaching new material or carrying on business as usual, but on staying connected with students and giving them support, encouragement and stability during a period of a new normal. [Norman Transcript]

General News

Isolation measures leading to increase in domestic violence: Local agencies that help victims of domestic violence are expanding their services at a time when isolation measures intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus might unintentionally be facilitating domestic abuse. [The Oklahoman]

Virus changes political campaigning: The coronavirus has fundamentally changed how candidates are campaigning, which usually is done face-to-face on doorsteps and at fundraisers. [The Oklahoman]

Coronavirus in Oklahoma: ‘Gotta take care of the animals’: As the coronavirus spreads across Oklahoma, those who care for animals are under increasing pressure to save pets and soothe their owners while trying to keep themselves, their staff and their clients safe. [The Oklahoman] Altered Lives: Zookeepers stay busy even though Tulsa Zoo remains closed [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

Quote of the Day

“His position was ‘If I can’t evict them lawfully, I’ll just turn off their water.'”

-Eric Hallett, an attorney and coordinator of housing advocacy for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, describing a Woodward County landlord’s actions after being unable to evict a tenant lawfully [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahoma adults (age 18+) at risk of serious illness if infected with COVID-19, or 40.8% of Oklahoma adults 18 and over.

[Source: Kaiser Family Foundation]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Paying for Medicaid — State budgets and the case for expansion in the time of coronavirus: In the current context, it is hard to imagine a worse policy approach in Medicaid than to cap federal contributions to the program and shift to predetermined block-grant allotments for states. [The New England Journal of Medicine]

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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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