In Okmulgee County, a rising number of COVID-19 cases has prompted the sheriff to close the department's front office, while judges have delayed and moved court hearings to an online system. A COVID-19 lab is offering curbside tests on the Square in Okmulgee, and Monday, cars were lined up with people waiting.
So far in Okmulgee County, 4,192 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, and 87 people have died, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The Sheriff’s Office dispatch and response system is operating as usual, with no more calls than usual, and deputies available to answer calls. The sheriff relayed to other county officials there were five people out sick with COVID-19 from the office.
That leaves the security checkpoint at the courthouse without a security guard, but the courtrooms are closed with hearings moving online or delayed. County Treasurer Vonna Lampkins put her “Masks Required” sign on the door again, after going without it for the last few months with fewer cases. “That Delta Variant, I don’t know about the Delta Variant,” said Lampkins, who said she believed having masks on staff, with them as separate as possible, had helped. Two of her employees have had the virus in the last year, she said. She’s also using ionization machines that she believes are helping kill the virus in the office.
The Eternal Lifeline Clinic downtown is busy testing people for COVID-19, including Hannah Bowman, who arrived with her children, who all have symptoms, she said. “We have some coworkers with kids who have it, and now we have 3 or 4 friends who have it, and their kids. It's going everywhere. I don't know why. We try to take precautions, we wear masks, we do everything we can” she said, though she admitted she had not been vaccinated.
The Sheriff’s Office announced Sunday it would be closed for the week.