In The Know: State breaks virus records again | OESC claim events reach capacity | Takeaways from state’s PPP loan data

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.

New from OK Policy

Fall 2020 Internships with Oklahoma Policy Institute: OK Policy is now accepting student applicants for two public policy internships, one Open Justice Oklahoma internship, and one communications internship. These are paid, part-time internships during the Fall 2020 semester. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

New records reached for daily case increases in Oklahoma, Tulsa County: With 858 new COVID-19 cases reported in Oklahoma on Tuesday, the state has set a new record for the number of new cases reported in a single day and has landed on New York’s travel advisory list. Oklahoma’s last peaks were reported on June 30 and July 4, with 585 and 580 new cases, respectively. [Tulsa World]

  • Hospitalization increase leads Integris to open its COVID-19 wings at Portland campus [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Oklahoma City hospital expands capacity for coronavirus patients as state’s cases surge [The Frontier]
  • Integris seeks additional bed capacity as Oklahoma shatters record for COVID cases [The Oklahoman]
  • COVID-19 test results taking a week to 10 days [CNHI via McAlester News Capital]
  • Council adopts mask ordinance, public outcry erupts [Norman Transcript]
  • Norman Makes Face Masks Mandatory [KOSU]
  • Stillwater City Council to vote on final approval of mask ordinance [Stillwater News Press]
  • OKC clinical trials company awarded Phase III COVID-19 vaccine trial [FOX25]
  • Oklahoma travelers added to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut quarantine list [ABC7NYC]

OESC: Remaining OKC claims events already at capacity: The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has handed out all front-of-line passes for its July 7, 8 and 9 events. The events have reached full capacity of 500 claimants per day. Claimants arriving at the Reed Center on Wednesday, July 8 and Thursday, July 9 will need to present a front-of-line pass at check-in before meeting with OESC staff about their claim. [The Oklahoman] OESC says benefit payments will be delayed for 24 hours [News9] Oklahomans show up for fourth day of unemployment claim filing event [KFOR]

Oklahoma leaders support Pardon & Parole Board members Doyle and Luck, community calls for McCall resignation: A group of Oklahoma community, business and faith leaders are coming to the defense of two board members for their work with the Pardon and Parole Board. Ahniwake Rose, OK Policy Executive Director said, “The increases in parole and commutations under the current Pardon and Parole Board have yielded positive results in safely providing many Oklahomans a second chance. We commend Governor Stitt for appointing talented and competent leaders like Director Steve Bickley and Board members Adam Luck and Kelly Doyle to fulfill the responsibilities associated with this function of the criminal justice system.” [City Sentinel]

Search the Oklahoma recipients of PPP money: Data released Monday indicate 64,280 Oklahoma entities have received about $5.5 billion in forgivable loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which Congress passed to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. [NonDoc] Note: OK Policy applied for and received a PPP loan in spring 2020.

  • Six takeaways from Oklahoma Paycheck Protection Program data [Oklahoma Watch]

Health News

Virus, Floyd death merge in brutal blow to Black well-being: Doctors have long known that Black people suffer disproportionately. Before the renewed cries of “Black Lives Matter,” they knew racism has very real, physical effects. [AP News / The Journal Record]

Op-Ed: What you need to know about Medicaid in Oklahoma: Even with the passage of State Question 802, many people do not fully understand the Medicaid system. I have focused this column on the information Oklahomans need to help those who might qualify or want further information. [Op-Ed / Muskogee Phoenix]

Criminal Justice News

TPD says officer critically injured in shooting is recovering ahead of doctors’ expectations: A Tulsa police officer seriously injured in a June 29 shooting continues to improve. The Tulsa Police Department said Tuesday afternoon Officer Aurash Zarkeshan is now breathing on his own, able to communicate with his family and is strong enough to stand. [Public Radio Tulsa] Zarkeshan remains hospitalized after both he and Sgt. Craig Johnson were shot during a traffic stop June 29. Johnson, a 15-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, succumbed to his gunshot wounds the next day. [Tulsa World] Tulsa police officer killing: Suspect’s 14-year history of run-ins with local police began with assault on very same officer [Tulsa World]

Trial begins in civil rights lawsuit against county: Testimony began Tuesday in a civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate of a teenager who hanged himself in December 2016 while detained at Muskogee County Regional Juvenile Detention Center. [Muskogee Phoenix]

Economic Opportunity

Coronavirus in Oklahoma: OKC resource center to help with bills, rent, food: Residents behind on bills and rent will be able to seek assistance by early next week from a $12.5 million fund authorized by the Oklahoma City Council. [The Oklahoman]

Community organizations continue to feed Tulsans through lasting pandemic effects: Restaurants are reopening, traffic is buzzing again and gatherings are back on, but hunger remains a problem for many Tulsans suffering lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Coronavirus ‘collateral damage’ hits U.S. rural power providers: Electric cooperatives, which serve about 42 million rural Americans, are a window of sorts into the far-reaching effects of the pandemic. Revenues of the cooperatives have taken a hit as the outbreak has curbed demand from commercial users and left many workers unemployed and unable to pay their bills. Jennifer Meason, CEO of electric cooperative Cotton Electric, which serves eight rural counties in southwestern Oklahoma, says many of the people her cooperative serves have been laid off from the oil and gas industry. [Reuters]

Education News

TPS begins offering dinner grab-and-go meals in addition to breakfast and lunch: Tulsa Public Schools has started serving free grab-and-go suppers at five select sites across the district to complement its already existing breakfast and lunch meals for students. [Tulsa World]

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says it’s crucial for schools to reopen while staying safe: Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister told KOCO 5 that it’s crucial that schools reopen for students this fall because of learning loss from last year. She said school is vital for Oklahoma’s children and the pandemic demands the commitment to safety – both commitments can and must co-exist.[KOCO]

Despite COVID-19 and a budget crunch, state colleges are trying ‘to keep higher education affordable for Oklahoma’: Despite COVID-19 putting campuses in a financial strain, the average Oklahoma college student will pay only $80 more this year in tuition and mandatory fees, according to data from higher-education officials. [Tulsa World]

General News

Black Lives Matter for Freedmen descendants of the Five Civilized Tribes: While the focus of public discussion rightly has been on police brutality, another type of discrimination has quietly remained under the radar in our community. Many readers may not be familiar with the story of the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes. [The Oklahoma Eagle]

Frank Keating: Honoring A.C. Hamlin would right an embarrassing wrong: The first African American elected to the Legislature was in the class of 1908. A.C. Hamlin was a Logan County farmer and a young father of five. And a Republican. Blacks had come to Oklahoma to celebrate freedom and to claim a stake in the new state economy. As a legislator, Hamlin found support to construct a Black school in his district and to address the unequal conditions facing Blacks on passenger trains. But Hamlin’s presence was a nuisance and a threat. Both would be addressed. [Op-Ed  / The Oklahoman]

Millions raised to bail out Black Lives Matter protesters: Black Lives Matter Oklahoma City has posted $2.1 million in cash bonds to get eight protesters out of jail while their criminal cases are pending. [The Oklahoman]

For skipping the Census, homes in these 6 places get door knocks first: With around four out of 10 homes in the U.S. yet to be tallied for the national head count, the Census Bureau has announced the first six places in the U.S. – including northwestern Oklahoma — where unresponsive households will get in-person visits starting later this month. [OPB]

Oklahoma Local News

  • OKC City Council hears Costco plans for 500 more jobs [Free Press OKC]
  • Amended Costco deal approved by OKC City Council [The Oklahoman]
  • Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism to hold peaceful rally ahead of Union School Board meeting [The Oklahoma Eagle]
  • OKC Thunder invests in Tulsa: new Thunder Fellows Program to be an asset for area Black students [Tulsa World]
  • Comanche, Kiowa recall efforts on display at open house [Lawton Constitution]
  • Petitions for Norman council, mayor recall to be filed Friday [Norman Transcript]
  • Logan County Courthouse to close following COVID case [Guthrie News Page]
  • Enid approves police raises, skate park building [Enid News & Eagle]

Quote of the Day

“There’s this impression that since things are opening back up that business is booming. And for most of them, that is not true at all.”

-Hunger Free Oklahoma Executive Director Chris Bernard speaking about the status of restaurant partners that support community food relief efforts [Tulsa World

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahomans who have self-responded to the 2020 Census, which is below the 61.9 percent national average, as of July 8. Marshall County has the lowest response rate at 27.8 percent, while Canadian County has the highest response rate at 67.6 percent. [U.S. Census Bureau]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Racial and ethnic disparities in access to and use of paid family and medical leave: evidence from four nationally representative datasets: In the absence of a public framework for paid family and medical leave, employers are free to choose which types of paid-leave policies to offer, and to which employees. Data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS) indicate that low-paid workers are less likely to have access to paid leave than those with higher pay, but that survey does not provide statistics by race or ethnicity and does not indicate actual use of leave.1 This article provides new evidence about how access to and use of employer-provided paid family and medical leave vary by race and ethnicity. [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

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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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