Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Oklahoma, US, extend orders requiring some residents to stay home through May 6. Business closures in place through April 30.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Lawton, Oklahoma
  • Woodward, Oklahoma
  • Enid, Oklahoma
  • Cushing, Oklahoma
  • Bartlesville, Oklahoma

This alert began 16 Apr 2020 21:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Oklahoma (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has extended an order requiring residents 65 years of age or older, or those with serious underlying medical conditions, to stay home through at least May 6 as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order stipulates that those considered to be vulnerable individuals may only leave their homes to work in the critical infrastructure sector, or to perform essential tasks, such as obtaining basic goods or attending to a medical issue.

Additionally, other existing restrictions will remain in place in Oklahoma through at least April 30. All persons entering Oklahoma from any area with substantial community COVID-19 transmission -including but not limited to the states of California, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Washington - must self-quarantine for 14 days. Such persons must also inform everyone in Oklahoma with whom they have direct physical contact that they have arrived from an area with significant community spread. Personnel employed by critical infrastructure projects, as well as military and emergency personnel are exempt from the order.

Nonessential businesses must remain closed through at least April 30. Only essential businesses and services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel stations, and banks, as well as energy, transport, and security companies, along with critical government services, may continue operating. Authorities have also banned gatherings of 10 or more people and urged workers in essential services to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Nonessential businesses may continue to operate via remote work only.

Local authorities in Tulsa and Oklahoma City had also previously issued executive orders placing their cities under shelter-in-place directives until at least April 30. Under the measures, residents of Tulsa and Oklahoma City of all ages are ordered to remain at home, with exemptions made to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, seek medical care, exercise, and work at essential businesses. All public and private events and social gatherings are banned.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Oklahoma authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO Coronavirus Knowledge Base: www.who.int

Oklahoma COVID-19 Updates: govstatus.egov.com

Governor of Oklahoma's Executive Order: sos.ok.gov

Tulsa Executive Order: cityoftulsa.org

Oklahoma City Executive Order: okc.gov