Oklahoma begins distributing $1.2 billion in CARES funding to communities

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State leaders say they are prepared to begin distributing millions of dollars to communities across the state that were impacted by COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that Oklahoma has received $1.2 billion from the CARES Act.

As a result, the state has set up a thorough process to reimburse state agencies, cities, and counties for expenses incurred from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have developed a system that is already garnering national attention from our peers in other states of how we’re distributing and set this process up,” Gov. Stitt said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Within 10 days of receiving requests from cities or counties, the state has already approved 30 percent of them. Stitt says the state is in the position to approve the rest of the requests by the end of the month.

So far, 67 cities and counties have requested reimbursement for $7.5 million related to COVID-19 expenses.

Some of the requests that have been approved include the following:

  • $1.25 million to the City of McAlester
  • $160,000 to Comanche County
  • $100,000 to the City of Lawton
  • $57,000 to Payne County.

“The state is committed to helping all of our local governments navigate the reimbursement for all COVID-related expenses,” Stitt said. “We’re also working with cities and counties on how to invest in public health and safety measures, and help them digitally transform the way they deliver services while we keep confronting the presence of COVID-19.”

Stitt says the cities and counties can submit additional requests for reimbursement on July 1.

“Help is on the way to Oklahoma’s cities and counties whose services have been impacted by the presence of COVID-19,” said Gov. Stitt. “We are grateful for Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation who made these critical funds available. It has made government more agile for adapting its workforce and services, to include purchasing critical personal protective equipment and enhancing sanitation of public areas or communal facilities. The State has built a robust platform to get these funds out the door efficiently and quickly while also providing thorough oversight, and we expect to see the number of reimbursement applications to at least double in July.”

Stitt stressed that COVID-19 is still in the community, so it is important to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of the virus.

Right now, there are about 2,000 active cases of COVID-19 in the state. In the last two weeks, more than half of the cases have been under the age of 35-years-old.

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