Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Mask extension through Nov. 30 proposed in OKC
The Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday will consider a proposal to extend the city's mask ordinance through Nov. 30.
Mayor David Holt says he doesn't think declines in key measures of the COVID-19 pandemic's severity can be attributed to anything else.
The council voted a month ago to require masks in public places indoors.
Since then, the 30-day trend lines have begun to show declines in the Oklahoma City metro area in daily new cases and hospitalizations.
Additionally, state data shows communities with a mask ordinance have had a greater decrease in new cases than communities without a mask ordinance, Emergency Management Director Frank Barnes said.
The three metro counties (Oklahoma, Cleveland and Canadian) reported a decrease of 42 hospitalizations Thursday, to 137. Holt said it was the lowest level since July 1.
There were 255 new metro infections Thursday.
Statewide, the Health Department reported 794 new cases Friday, dropping the seven-day average to its lowest level in a month.
Holt said he was most closely watching hospitalizations.
While the daily number has dropped from more than 200 in the past 10 days, he said, "We're still pretty high."
"We still have work to do," Holt said. "We really need to get those numbers down."
He said he worries most about residents letting down their guard when numbers begin looking better.
"We are still in a global pandemic," Holt said.
The city council voted 7-2 on July 17 to enact the mask ordinance. With some exceptions, it requires masks indoors in public places.
Public health officials said masks were effective in reducing spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The ordinance took effect immediately upon passage.
Holt observed that, "like clockwork," it was showing positive results three weeks after going on the books.
Without an extension, the original ordinance expires Sept. 8.
Norman's mask ordinance runs through Nov. 30.
Midwest City will consider an extension Sept. 22. Edmond's ordinance takes effect Aug. 26.