The Oklahoma State Department of Health had as many as 175 contact tracers last year, but is down to about 30 today. It needs to almost double that number to deal with a growing number of COVID-19 cases.
After agreeing to payments of $100,000 to each of the Race Massacre’s three living survivors, as well as a pledge of $2 million to a fund for the survivors and their descendants, their attorney asked for more money.
The attention comes as the board is playing a more pivotal role than ever in the criminal justice system in Oklahoma, finding itself embroiled in a high-profile death penalty case and hearing more commutation requests than ever.
Deaths in the state peaked in January and quickly fell off once COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out en masse. Now that the most vulnerable are vaccinated, the burden for herd immunity falls on younger Oklahomans.