The Coronavirus cut our time at the Capitol short this past week. After announcing on Monday that the Capitol would be closed to the public to prevent community spread of COVID-19, a Senate staff member tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, ending our week. Because of the nature of our workplaces, and the fact that each of us return to different parts of the state, health professionals recommended we all be tested for the virus. The Senate samples are being processed by a private lab contracted by OU Medicine, and individual insurance will be billed. The Senate spaces were closed the rest of the week for cleaning.
Although Tuesday was hectic, we still passed an emergency measure that temporarily allows local and county government meetings to happen by teleconference and a quorum to be established without a physical presence. This allows public bodies to continue without risking the health of attendees. This measure was signed by Governor Stitt on Wednesday.
COVID-19 has caused a lot of uncertainty for many Oklahomans, and our government is trying to help where they can. The Oklahoma Tax Commission will allow deferred income tax payments because of this pandemic.
The state of our public-school system is something I know affects many of you, and I think the best way to describe the situation is fluid. Schools are officially out until April 6, but this could change. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has already applied for a federal waiver to suspend school testing for the rest of this school year.
If you have been impacted by the Coronavirus, I encourage you to visit covidresources.ok.gov. This site has resources for individuals and small businesses to help during this pandemic.
Health officials still say the best way to protect yourself from the virus is to frequently wash your hands, avoid touching your face and socially distance yourself as much as possible. If you feel sick, please stay home and contact your doctor. Don’t go to the emergency room unless it is truly an emergency. We need to allow our medical professionals to tend to our most serious cases while reducing the chance of community spread.
To contact me at the Capitol, please write to Senator Larry Boggs, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 530, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me at Larry.Boggs@oksenate.gov, or call 405-521-5604.