When the coronavirus started to spread in the U.S., I knew it was only a matter of time before the first case was reported in Oklahoma.
On March 3, I wrote about how Oklahoma hospitals were preparing for the pandemic. At the time, there were only 60 known cases in the country.
On March 6, state officials announced a Tulsa County man had tested positive for COVID-19, the first confirmed case in Oklahoma.
Since then, I have reported almost exclusively on the pandemic and its wide-reaching implications on Oklahomans.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has reported more than 1,400 fatalities since March, and hundreds more have been hospitalized.
On March 12, I reported that the health department was failing to follow federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that were aimed to get more people tested for the coronavirus. At the time, the state had only tested 39 people.
Adequate testing is vital to tracking and slowing the spread of infectious disease, but amid a shortage of testing supplies, the health department was denying Oklahomans tests even with a physician’s referral.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health changed their testing guidelines the following day, expanding the number of people who could be tested.
In May, I reported that state officials had issued orders for personal protective equipment totaling around $80 million, but officials refused to say who they were doing business with.
The Frontier requested purchasing records from the state of Oklahoma, but the Office of Management and Enterprise Services redacted all business and supplier information.
Hours after my story was published, the agency released the unredacted records.
At its core, COVID-19 is an accountability story.
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