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Bolt: Coronavirus data monitored closely

By Vicky O. Misa | Vicky.misa@news-star.com | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star

Mayor Ed Bolt is starting off his term in office in the middle of an unprecedented crisis: COVID-19.

The pandemic is proving to be a tricky adversary; all over the world residents are struggling with how to balance life avoiding contact with the illness without killing the economy.

As city leaders, Bolt and six Shawnee city commissioners are tasked with serving — which includes guiding, growing and protecting — the community as a whole; that means making some tough decisions.

Like many communities right now, the board is facing a controversial decision on the front lines of battling the coronavirus — whether to require all residents to wear face masks when they are out and about.

“Nobody likes to be told what to do,” Bolt said this week.

He said he hopes it doesn't come to a point where such a decision would have to be made for everyone.

“I wear a mask out of consideration for others,” he said. “I know a mask isn't made to protect me from catching COVID-19, but if I (unknowingly and asymptomatically) have it, by wearing one I can potentially protect others.”

That — along with consistently adhering to social distancing, plus thorough-and-often hand-washing — could make all the difference to someone with compromised health issues.

“We've been very blessed here; we aren't facing the numbers many other places are,” he said.

But Bolt and the Commission have been closely monitoring coronavirus data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health — information that changes daily, and can potentially change more often than that.

Bolt is encouraging everyone to voluntarily don the face covering to curb positive cases in the area.

Many businesses, in order to protect their employees and customers, are requesting the same — while others are taking an even firmer stance.

Walmart — with more than 5,000 stores across the country — released a statement Wednesday that it will require all customers to wear face masks, beginning Monday.

One of the nation's largest drugstore chains, Walgreens announced Thursday it is expanding requirements for customers to wear face covers while in stores across all Walgreens locations chain-wide.

“I think we do a good job here looking out for one another,” Bolt said. “We'll come out of this, but it may take some adapting to do it.”

He said the coronavirus situation is very fluid; it can change very quickly.

“If there's a drastic spike we will have no choice but to act,” he said. “Our number one responsibility is to keep everybody safe.”

By the numbers

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, according to ok.gov and cdc.gov, the number of reported COVID-19 cases were:

Current (not listed as recovered or fatal) cases reported:

• 37 current cases reported in Shawnee

• 51 current cases reported in Pottawatomie County

• 5,346 current cases reported in Oklahoma

Total cases reported:

• 128 total cases reported in Shawnee

• 184 total cases reported in Pottawatomie County

• 23,441 total cases reported in Oklahoma

• 3,416,428 total cases reported in the United States

Total deaths reported:

• 4 total deaths reported in Shawnee

• 4 total deaths reported in Pottawatomie County

• 438 total deaths reported in Oklahoma

• 135,991 total deaths reported in the United States