SC)—Schools across the state will be closed until April 6. The State Board of Education is held an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss action concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19). State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said state education officials will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation to determine if it’s necessary to extend the closure. “Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of Oklahomans,” Hofmeister said in a statement. “It is critical that we do everything in our power to protect the health of our kids, their families, educators and all vulnerable populations. That need outweighs everything else. The OSDE has been working around the clock, and will continue to do so, to ease the burden of schools during this challenging time.” According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the department has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on two requested waivers allowing meal service to continue during school closures. Meals will be available at no cost to low-income children and are not required to be served in a group setting to avoid possible exposure to COVID-19. Gov. Kevin Stitt said the decision was not made lightly but is the right thing to do based on the current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This closure will allow us time to further understand how COVID-19 is affecting Oklahoma and give students and staff a period of time to be protected from further community spread of the virus,” Stitt said. "We know closing schools has a significant impact on families, and we are committed to doing what we can to lessen that impact as we work to prioritize the health and safety of all Oklahomans.”
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IC)—As of this afternoon…The number of Oklahomans testing positive for COVID-19 has increased to ten, with two additional out-of-state residents testing positive in the state. State Department of Health officials said the positive or presumptive-positive tests came from residents in Cleveland, Canadian, Jackson, Kay, Payne, Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. 29 more results are pending, and 174 persons have tested negative for the virus. Tests through the health department’s public health laboratory are considered presumptive until confirmed by the Center for Disease Control. The state health department's has a website dedicated to the coronavirus — https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov.
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GP)--Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt Sunday issued a proclamation declaring an emergency in all 77 counties to provide public health officials, health care providers, state agencies and small businesses support as a result of the national spread of COVID-19. “This emergency declaration allows us to continue to be proactive in our response to the spread of COVID-19,” said Gov. Stitt. “I want to encourage all Oklahomans to remain calm and make wise choices based on your health and risk level. Pay attention to how you are feeling and stay home if you are sick.” By declaring an emergency, state agencies may make necessary emergency purchases or hires; small businesses are able to apply for low-interest federal loans; and certain restrictions are temporarily lifted on hospitals and other health care providers in order to treat patients effectively.
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LC)--In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Enid is carefully evaluating ways to minimize risk to the public while fully functioning. No City events are currently cancelled, but that could change as the situation continues to develop. Mayor George Pankonin stated, “The City is committed to maximize public safety while providing essential municipal services.” The City has created an informational page on its website: www.Enid.org/coronavirus. We are asking individuals in the community that are sick or not feeling well, to conduct any necessary business with the City through the telephone, email, or online methods. We recommend CDC and Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) guidelines be followed to prevent the transmission of germs. Residents are encouraged to remain calm; take precaution at home, in public, and while traveling; and approach social environments with high awareness.
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WD)--If you’re having symptoms of COVID-19, don’t go straight into the doctor’s office, state health officials say. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, county health departments do not offer testing for coronavirus. If you develop symptoms, such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19 or have traveled from an area with ongoing spread of coronavirus, call your health care provider or COVID-19 hotline at 877-215-8336 for recommendation first. Before going into a doctor’s office, you should call ahead and discuss your symptoms.
To help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, following these guidelines:
*Wash hands often
*Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
*Cover your cough or sneeze
*Avoid close contact with people who are sick
*All Oklahomans are advised to take social distancing precautions such as implementing telework and avoiding large gatherings when possible.
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BE)--After more than five years of planning and fundraising, 4RKids broke ground Friday on a new $2.2 million facility to expand its services to those in need. 4RKids provides employment opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities, support and outreach to their families, and supports local enrichment opportunities for the developmentally disabled, including Miracle League and Special Olympics. The planned building, at more than 10,000 square feet, will increase the foundation's space for employment counseling and training. 4RKids Executive Director Tricia Mitchell said the new building will triple the number of people 4RKids can serve. `
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SJ)--Enid Police Department is asking the public for help in its investigation of a theft of more than $2,000 of jackets. On Feb. 24 a report was made with police in reference to packages stolen off of a porch in the 1500 block of Osage. The suspect is a white man with short light brown or possibly auburn hair, wearing brown overalls and a blue hoodie. The packages stolen contained 38 safari jackets for the Grand National Quail Club. Estimated value of the theft was $2,141. Anyone with information leading to the arrest or prosecution of this or any crime can report an anonymous tip with Garfield County Crime Stoppers at (580) 233-6233, text to 274637, typing “Enid” and a message in the text box, or www.enid.org/departments/police . Those submitting a tip could earn a reward up to $1,000 and will not be required to testify nor be identified.
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WW)--City of Enid Engineering officials announced that contractors will be addressing the final phase of construction on the West Willow Road box structure. The box structure is
located on West Willow near Prairie View Elementary School just east of North Garland Road. This work will begin today. The location will be closed to all traffic until completion. Work is expected to be completed Sunday, March 22. Motorists are encouraged to drive with caution in the area during the work effort.
Residents can sign up for mobile app notifications to get communication about road construction, trash schedules, holiday closings, water outages, and other important events by going to: Enid.org/RequestCenter or by downloading the SeeClickFix app.
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AF)--The fourth annual Enid Author Fest scheduled for March 28 at the Enid-Garfield County public library has been cancelled.