Starting midnight on Tuesday, March 23, the face covering ordinance lifted in Edmond, Oklahoma. The mask ordinance was required for all individuals over the age of 11 in any indoor public space. Masks are still encouraged but are no longer mandatory. City officials encouraged residents in a news release to still follow CDC guidelines including washing hands, social distancing, and wearing masks.
Businesses do not have to post mask policies, but if they choose to do so, shoppers must follow them.
The Edmond City Council also voted to keep the COVID-19-induced Declaration of Emergency until Tuesday, April 27. This Declaration will remove several previous provisions and matches more closely with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Declaration of Emergency Plan.
Phil Maytubby, the chief operating officer for the Oklahoma City County Health Department, said herd immunity is possible within the next few months
“Our predicted model shows if the mask ordinance stays in place and residents continue social distancing and washing their hands, we could achieve herd immunity by June,” Maytubby said.
Face masks are currently required along with all other CDC guidelines.
According to Koco News5, 24% of Oklahoma County residents had been vaccinated by February 29.
The number of cases in Oklahoma County have been dropping since mid-January, but the county is still considered a moderate-risk orange zone, which means there are 14 new daily infected people per 100,000 residents. CDC guidelines like social distancing and elevated cleaning measures are expected for orange zones and yellow zones.
Starting Monday, March 29, all Oklahomans over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Residents can schedule their vaccination appointment via Oklahoma State Health Department’s website. Current vaccination sites include Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens.
Almost 1.7 million have been vaccinated as of March 23. With the move into Phase 4, that number is expected to rise quickly.
“We have all been looking forward to this day for a long time. All Oklahomans will be eligible to schedule a vaccine appointment through the state, regardless of your priority group. No more screening for eligibility groups. No more need for personal contemplation about whether you are eligible or should get the vaccine,” said Deputy Commissioner of Health Keith Reed.
Health officials are studying the full effectiveness of the vaccine. Richard Zane, the chief innovation officer with UCHealth, said the vaccine might be even more effective than previously thought.
“The short answer is there’s some emerging evidence that vaccines protect you from not just getting sick but also getting infected and spreading COVID-19. And it’s scientifically intuitive that that should be the case,” said Zane. “What we really need is more information, and this information is more difficult to study than whether people get sick or not after getting vaccinated.”
Most counties in Oklahoma are low-risk yellow zones, although 15 orange zones persist. According to Fox 25, over 435,400 Oklahomans have been infected with the coronavirus. Only 11,401 have active cases as of March 17. There have been 7,704 deaths total in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma residents who wish to get the vaccine must make two appointments if they take the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The vaccine will reach its full strength two weeks after the second dose. Other vaccine questions and facts can be found at Oklahoma City’s Health Department website.