Tulsa is the only city in Green Country with a mask mandate, but that could soon change for some surrounding areas.
The City of Tulsa is organizing a meeting of regional cities, hospitals and the Tulsa Health Department next Thursday. Meanwhile, most cities said they are monitoring COVID-19 infection rates and will make changes as needed.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the city's mask mandate has helped slow the spread of COVID-19, but his hands are tied when it comes to surrounding communities.
"The vast majority of those who are being hospitalized in Tulsa right now with COVID-19 don't live in the city limits of Tulsa," said Bynum in Tuesday’s news conference.
Jenks Mayor Robert Lee said Jenks' City Council will discuss a mask mandate on November 10.
"I want to be able to look at these first responders in the eye, look at their families in the eye and tell them that I've done everything I can to keep them and their families safe," said Lee.
Meanwhile, Sapulpa Mayor Craig Henderson said he tried to get the Sapulpa City Council to pass a mask mandate in July. He hopes that eventually changes.
"Not everyone is going to be happy, but as far as the health and the safety of my community, as well as Tulsa's and the surrounding community, if it works, we just have to do it," said Henderson.
News On 6 also checked in with neighboring cities:
City Of Bixby:
“The City of Bixby has been attentive to and active in evaluating its pandemic response since the onset of COVID-19. Before modifying current guidelines that follow State protocols, the Council must be provided with actionable, community-specific data other than what has been gleaned from the Oklahoma State Department of Health website. The basic, on-going information needs include statistics such as the number of Bixby residents that have been hospitalized and any local hotspots that have been identified by the Tulsa County Health Department.”
City Of Broken Arrow: A city spokesperson said the mayor did not want to interview and declined to share a statement.
City Of Collinsville: No response.
City Of Glenpool:
"The City of Glenpool continues to closely monitor our local community-based COVID situation. We look forward to next week's scheduled regional conversation about COVID, and after that important conversation will consider if any changes in response or guidelines may be necessary from a regional perspective."
City Of Owasso:
“The City of Owasso assesses the COVID-19 numbers daily and we are prepared to take action if and when it is necessary. Owasso continues to experience some of the lowest percentages of positive cases and related deaths per capita. Most of our commercial and business establishments have implemented policies requiring masks, which are being adhered to by customers and employees with only occasional exceptions. Given the high rate of compliance with individual mask policies across our community, and in consideration that Owasso’s COVID-19 numbers continue to trend lower than other communities in the region, there are no plans to pass a mask ordinance at this time. Should conditions change, we will reevaluate our position at that time.”
City Of Sand Springs:
“The City of Sand Springs continues to monitor the COVID numbers as they relate to our community. We also do a daily report to our Mayor and Council giving them statistics on the infection rate of our community and how we compare to other communities in the metro area. This issue is also on every council agenda and discussed at the council meetings. As of this date, our rate is below that of all other communities in the metro area with the exception of one. The City is balancing the rights of individuals with that of public safety as a whole, and if we see a pattern in our community that the rate grows, we stand ready to make changes to our ordinances as deemed appropriate by the City Council.”
The Tulsa Health Department:
“The Tulsa Health Department encourages everyone to follow the CDC recommendations regarding face coverings, as they remain critical to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
As CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said earlier this year, "Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus - particularly when used universally within a community setting. Additionally, I wanted to draw your attention to page 13 of the most recent Oklahoma State Department of Health weekly epidemiological report, which provides data for the state of Oklahoma on the impact of mask mandates.”