The novel coronavirus made its way to Oklahoma nearly one year ago. State and local leaders have said the past year has been a whirlwind with the battle against COVID-19.
The timeline for the state really started on March 6, 2020 when Governor Stitt announced the first case of COVID-19 in Tulsa. Then the Thunder and Jazz game was postponed just before tipoff when a Jazz player tested positive for the virus.
Then four days after the game Stitt declared a state of emergency. That was followed by a grim milestone on March 24, 2020 when the first death from the virus was reported in the state.
During the first couple of weeks state and local leaders had to rapidly make tough decisions in order to save lives.
“I never could have imagined still taking the steps we ultimately took,” said David Holt, Oklahoma City Mayor. “Things were moving so fast and the information was coming in quickly.”
Bars, restaurants, hair salons and other non-essential businesses were forced to shut down for some time. Then social distancing and mask wearing became the new normal.
Looking back on how OKC handled the first months and into the year of the pandemic Mayor Holt said he has no regrets on how things played out. He said looking at data from other cities and states of similar size we have fared better than most, though it has been extremely difficult.
“I feel good about it,” said Holt. “I look at other states around the country and we have had some of the best experiences with COVID-19 you could have.”
Holt said he felt the city found a good balance between public health and the economy. He is hopeful for the future.