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STATE OF EMERGENCY: There are two active proclamations of a state of emergency in Oklahoma City. Click here for details on the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in part of downtown. Visit covid19.okc.gov for updates and details on the COVID-19 emergency proclamation.

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Oklahoma City taking precautions as effects of COVID-19 pandemic develop

Post Date:03/16/2020 5:50 PM

The City of Oklahoma City continues to take precautions to protect public and employee safety as the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic develops locally.

The City’s primary partner in assessing risks and limiting the spread of the virus is the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD), the local public health authority. The City works closely with OCCHD and uses the latest local information and guidance to shape preparation and decision-making for all public health issues.

“We’re working hard to continue providing critical public services, while also doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma City,” said City Manager Craig Freeman. “Our staff has been working around-the-clock to keep track of the latest developments, and we will continue to update our residents and visitors as we adapt to the situation.”

OCCHD works closely with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as its local and national partners.

Visit covid19.okc.gov for the latest local news, updates and guidance on COVID-19.

City of OKC preparations

Mayor David Holt has proclaimed a state of emergency in Oklahoma City.

  • All previously approved special event permits for events March 16 to April 12 are revoked.
  • Events with 50 or more participants are suspended at City-operated facilities; certain City-owned facilities operated by a private contractor; and Lake Hefner, Lake Stanley Draper and Lake Overholser.
  • The City has stopped water service cut-offs for customers unable to pay their bill.
  • All users of public transportation must maintain a distance of at least 3 feet from other users.
  • Read the details here.

Changes are being made to City operations and policies to help limit the spread of COVID-19, but more changes may be necessary as the situation develops.

As of March 16, City departments and facilities have taken these steps to protect public and employee health:

  • The Utilities Department has stopped shutting off water service to customers who are unable to pay their bill. Customers who have already been disconnected for non-payment may call (405) 297-2833 to have service turned back on. Staff will also contact customers to restore water service. The customer or a designated person must be present at the home when staff arrives to turn water back on.
  • Oklahoma City’s drinking water quality is not affected by COVID-19. The virus hasn’t been detected in our water supply, and would be easily eradicated with our standard treatment and disinfection measures for all contaminants.
  • Trash, recycling and bulky waste pickup will continue uninterrupted. Please be sure all your trash is bagged and contained in Big Blue carts. Recycling items should remain loose and un-bagged, but properly contained, in the Big Green carts as always.
  • EMBARK buses are being sanitized daily, including seats, poles and stanchions. The OKC Streetcar also sanitizes its vehicles daily. Parking OKC garage elevators and kiosks are also sanitized daily. Similar precautions are being taken throughout the public transit system, including Spokies bike share, Oklahoma River Cruises and partner transportation agencies. Read more here.
  • The Police Department has made adjustments to ensure proper staffing levels, and will make more adjustments if they become necessary. Low priority calls for service will be handled by phone if an officer’s presence is not required.
  • The Fire Department trains firefighters to limit their exposure to infectious diseases. There will be no reduction in service.
  • 911 call-takers, firefighters and paramedics are asking specific questions to callers for anyone who may have COVID-19 symptoms to ensure the safest response for the patient and emergency workers.
  • Homeless Services has aggregated resources and information for homeless service providers and people who are homeless at okc.gov/homeokc.
  • OKC Parks senior centers are closed, and senior activities are canceled, through April 12. Other OKC Parks events will be limited to 50 people or fewer.
  • Will Rogers World Airport janitorial staff is sanitizing touch points and high-traffic areas, and using signage to encourage passengers and staff to help limit the chance of infection. Read more here.
  • Municipal Court sessions are canceled until April 3. Cases are being rescheduled and defendants are being notified by mail with new court dates. Call (405) 297-3898 if you have questions. The court building will remain open. There will be no warrants or continuance fees assessed in any case. Jail inmates will not be taken to the court building, and court staff and attorneys are working on a standing judicial order for releases.
  • City staff will provide extra seating space in overflow areas for public meetings with high attendance in the Council Chamber at City Hall to allow for social distancing. The City Council is also temporarily limiting the number of presentations and scheduled speakers. Hand sanitizer stands are available throughout City Hall and other City government buildings.
  • The special collection event for tires, ammunition, computers and prescription drugs previously scheduled for April 4 at the OKC Fairgrounds has been postponed to the fall.
  • The City is updating its 4,869 employees on internal preparations to limit the spread of COVID-19, continue operations to provide critical public services and support staff as the effects on daily life increase.
  • City employees are halting all business travel, except in limited situations. Guidelines are in place for self-isolation for employees who have COVID-19 symptoms or who travel to certain places on personal time.

Quick links

Local guidance

Information and recommendations from the OCCHD, OSDH and the CDC:

  • Practice social distancing. Stay home if you can. Work from home if you can.
  • Avoid large gatherings. They are already banned in most City buildings and facilities.
  • Older adults and people with chronic illness should avoid all non-essential air travel. They are at a higher risk for a more severe infection.
  • COVID-19 symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or you have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19:
    • Call your health care provider for testing information, or call (877) 215-8336.
    • If you don't have a health care provider, call (877) 215-8336 for testing information.
    • Read more on testing here.
  • OKC metro situation summary
  • Oklahoma situation summary

Preparation and prevention

  • Here's a guide from the CDC about preparing your household. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home and avoid contact with others when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Try singing "Happy Birthday" twice, because that's about how long it takes. It's especially important to wash your hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Healthy people don't need a face mask for protection from any respiratory disease, including COVID-19. Masks are for people showing COVID-19 symptoms to prevent spreading it to others, and for health workers or others taking care of a sick person in a close setting like a home or health care facility.
  • Prolonged school closures have been announced. Families and employers should plan to adapt.
  • Get help if you're distressed. If you don't know where to start, contact the national Disaster Distress Helpline or Heartline Oklahoma (2-1-1).
  • Be prepared, not scared. Find more information on how to make a plan and build an emergency kit for any emergency at home here. Find information specifically for COVID-19 on how to prepare your household here, or prepare your business here.

Symptoms and testing

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • If you have these symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19:
    • Call your health care provider for testing information, or call (877) 215-8336.
    • If you don't have a health care provider, call (877) 215-8336 for testing information.
    • Read more on testing here.

    # # #

Media Contact
Kristy Yager
(405) 297-2550
kristy.yager@okc.gov

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