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News Brief: Week of April 8 – 14


Mask Mandate

Oklahoma City’s mask mandate will not end earlier than April 30.

Extending or ending the mandate requires seven out of nine votes. Currently, only Norman has a mask mandate besides Oklahoma City. The council declined to vote on this issue during the Tuesday, April 13 council session.

Councilman James Cooper said they likely will debate the topic again in two weeks.

“We are talking about the middle of May to June where most Oklahomans would become truly vaccinated,” Cooper said.

The ordinance started in July 2020 and would last until Sept. 8. However, council members have extended the mandate multiple times. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said the mandate has caused Oklahoma City COVID-19 cases to drop.

Esports Update at OSU

Oklahoma State University installed a new esports arena. The arena includes stations for live-streaming, 40 gaming PCs, a green screen and more professional equipment to make the 1,690 square-foot arena ready for gaming.

OSU’s gaming group has 500 active members, ranging from competitive gamers to casual players.

Gamers of OSU Advisor Shaun Noll said this space helped the group get exposure.

“When you’ve got a club that’s already doing a lot of the tournaments and things and that exposure, they just needed a platform to be seen,” Noll said.

Noll also said this space will encourage more members to join.

“When you start to build things like this, people are going to want to come compete here, and we need to be able to offer that, and a lot of that we can do already,” Noll said.

Adam Barnes, the Student Union assistant director of meeting and conferences services, said this was a first for the Big 12.

“There’s nobody we know of that is as far along in terms of a dedicated esports arena — not some computer lab out in the corner of campus somewhere, but a dedicated space,” Barnes said. “We strategically chose the Student Union because it’s the heart of campus.”

Barnes said esports was important for community.

“As we went on this tour, we realized that esports definitely fit on college campuses, but it really fit with student affairs,” Barnes said. “Inclusion, retention, engagement … it checked all of the boxes. It brought people together.”

According to News 9, OSU hopes to expand the space further as the global esports market continues to rise.

Oklahoma Insulin Price Cap

The Oklahoma State Senate passed House Bill 1019 which capped the 30-day supply of insulin at $30. Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Rande Worthen wrote the bill to keep the price steady like other states have done.

According to a news release by the American Diabetes Association, over 450,000 adults in Oklahoma have diabetes, and it is the seventh leading cause of death.

If the disease is managed, associated symptoms of blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and early death can be prevented. Worthen said this bill will ease the financial burden on diabetes patients.

“All Oklahomans with diabetes should be able to purchase life-saving insulin without forgoing other bills or stretch it out to less than their recommended dosage,” Worthen said. “I believe House Bill 1019 is a step in the right direction to providing affordable insulin to these citizens, and I am very pleased that the bill was supported by so many of my colleagues in the Legislature.”

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