The City Council on Monday did not renew a resolution pertaining to COVID-19 restrictions after City Manager Mike Bailey reported a sharp decline in new infections for the state, including Washington County.
The resolution, which expired at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, put into place several COVID-19 provisions that impacted City of Bartlesville facilities, including a requirement that masks or face coverings be worn by anyone visiting or working in enclosed City-owned facilities. The resolution was initially adopted by the council on November 2020 and had been extended several times since that time.
But on Monday, Bailey reported that Washington County had been removed from the “orange” level threat designated by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and placed in the “yellow” category, indicating far fewer cases of COVID-19 infections.
“We are currently averaging four new cases per 100,000 people, which is how the State designates these categories,” Bailey said. “We’ve had 15 cases, total, in the last seven-day period, so we are at our lowest rate for new infections since July of last year, and that is great news.”
Bailey said Tuesday that several variants of the virus that is causing spikes in infections, primarily outside the U.S., are still a concern and that spikes in local caseloads will be monitored closely.
“It has been a great month and I think we are all starting to relax a little,” he said. “However, because the potential remains for an increase in infections of COVID-19 or its variants, we will continue to take certain actions at City facilities in an effort to protect the public and ensure continuity of services, including a requirement that masks be worn in meetings with 10 or more people when social distancing cannot be practiced.”
Masks will still be available at entrances for the public and to all employees who want to wear them, Bailey said. The City will also continue to encourage compliance with CDC guidelines pertaining to COVID-19 including social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing when in larger groups of people outside one’s own household.