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Published 03/15/2020 | Reading Time 7 min 1 sec 

Mayor David Holt announced he expects to sign a proclamation of a state of emergency in the City of Oklahoma City on Monday due to the discovery of possible COVID-19 community spread in the metro area.

Mayor Holt made the announcement Sunday at a news conference at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD). The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) on Sunday confirmed three new positive tests for COVID-19 statewide. At least one appears to be unrelated to travel, indicating possible community spread. It would be the first instance of community spread in the Oklahoma City metro.

“Limiting close personal contact is our only real tool of mitigation, and on the advice of public health officials, and with the confirmation of local spread, we feel it is now time to do more,” said Mayor Holt. “I do not proclaim this state of emergency casually, and I am fully aware of the gravity of the moment. But this is a time to protect the people of Oklahoma City.”

Local public health officials underscored the necessity of the proclamation.

“This will be an important step to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the impact of this pandemic on our community,” said Dr. Gary Raskob, chairman of the OCCHD Board of Health.

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Effective immediately upon signing the declaration:

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The emergency proclamation is declared under Chapter 15 Article III of City Code. It will remain in effect until the Mayor signs a proclamation to end it. The Mayor may modify to the terms of the emergency declaration for as long as it remains in effect.

The declaration is based on updated guidance on mass gatherings issued Sunday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read that guidance here.

The announcement Sunday of the intention to sign the proclamation Monday fulfills a requirement in City Code for advance notice.

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

A violation of the proclamation’s terms would be a class “b” misdemeanor under City Code, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.

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Resources and information

More local guidance

  • Public health officials advise against all cruise travel.
  • 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.
  • Take social distancing precautions like teleworking and avoiding large gatherings.
  • 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.

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  • 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.
  • Make a plan for how you and your family or business would need to adapt if schools close for a prolonged period.
  • 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.

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...