As mask ordinance is extended, COVID-19 surges, and OKC has no ICU beds available

The Oklahoma City Council extended the city’s mask ordinance until Dec. 7. Mayor David Holt arrived for a COVID-19 news conference earlier this year. [The Oklahoman Archive]

No ICU beds were available Tuesday morning in Oklahoma City as COVID-19 cases surge, a central Oklahoma regional health system executive told the city council.

The council got a pandemic update as it considered a mask ordinance extension, the second since the ordinance was adopted July 17. 

The council agreed on a 7-1 vote to extend the mask mandate to Dec. 7.

Pressure on Oklahoma City’s health system currently is due primarily to a nursing shortage as daily new COVID-19 cases increase, and hospitalizations continue trending upward.

The regional health executive said additional pressure was exerted by patient transfers in from rural areas where people wearing masks “are laughed at.”

The ordinance requires that masks be worn indoors in many public places. Exceptions are made for churches and offices.

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