TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron, during an April City Council meeting, confirmed the county has reported a second fatality related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Catron said that between the city's two hospitals, W.W. Hastings Hospital and Northeastern Health System, there have been two deaths and 45 positive cases. Cherokee Nation Health Services reported 24 cases as of April 6, and the remainder were at NHS. The victims are not necessarily Cherokee County residents, but have been treated in the local facilities.

“Of those 45, 38 are being treated in an outpatient basis, which means they have been returned home to recover with their families,” said Catron. “Each hospital has had one fatality — so that is two fatalities — and [Police] Chief Nate King reports there have been no citations or tickets issued to date related to the curfew.”

Councilors approved a transfer of excess funds from 2009 Tahlequah Public Works Authority Sales Tax Revenue Bond. Those funds are to go into City of Tahlequah Operating Reserve Fund, at the request from Interim City Administrator Alan Chapman and City Treasurer Marty Hainzinger.

Chapman said he didn’t have an exact amount to share with the council at the meeting, and Hainzinger said the item would still need to go before TPWA’s Board.

“It’s just excess from the 2009 bond that’s built up in TPWA’s Trust account, and the motion is to have authority from the council to move it over and to be used for our reserve accounts,” said Hainzinger.

The board gave its nod to approve the acquisition of poly carts at the request of Solid Waste Superintendent Chris Armstrong. The action also waived the city’s sealed bid requirements.

Councilors accepted the resignation of four city employees: Director of Parks and Recreation Charles Poteet, 39 years of service, Cemetery Superintendent Richard Smith, 36 years of service; cemetery laborer Ricky Tracy, 14 years of service; and Stormwater Manager Jahna Hill.

“We have some resignation/retirements with some people who have been with the city for a long time and have done some great work for the residents of Tahlequah over the years. I hate that it’s on an agenda that is happening like this with the world, and we can’t give them their standing ovation and all the kudos they deserve at this time,” said Ward 3 Councilor Stephen Highers. “I hope that you will relay that to them and that the residents of this town know they have done a great job for them. Hopefully when we all can come back together, we can have a time where we recognize them and their retirement.”

What’s next

The next Tahlequah City Council meeting is Monday, April 20 on Zoom at 7 p.m.

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