Tulsa mayor holding off on mask decision as COVID-19 ‘red zones’ disappear from county zip code map

TULSA, Okla. — The spread of COVID-19 in Tulsa County has slowed down much multiple zip codes are in green, the lowest level of risk, on the Tulsa Health Departments COVID-19 spread risk map.

>> Find the map here

Just a few months ago, all zip codes were in dark red indicating the virus was spreading rapidly in every part of Tulsa County. That was also the same time hospitals saw a surge, the number of cases was peaking again, and there were little-to-no vaccine doses being distributed.

Only three zip codes were in the orange high-risk category. Most were in yellow where there is moderate risk, but nine zip codes in different parts of the county were in green where there are lesser signs of spread at this time.

The indicators are a mix of numerous things: more Oklahomans have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine -- a single dose has been shown to form some initial immunity but the full effect kicks in after the second booster dose -- temperatures are warming up -- COVID-19 thrives in colder environments -- and a number of people have already had COVID-19 and some have natural immunity built up from a previous infection. Some of those are asymptomatic infections where someone may not have known they had COVID-19 and showed no signs that they were infected.

FOX23 found Tulsans at a midtown grocery store felt Oklahoma was on a good path, but they were still hesitant to declare victory just yet. Many of them said they are still going to wear masks, make vaccination appointments, and social distance at the very least.

>> OSDH: COVID-19 vaccine registration available, scheduling for those in phased priority plan

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum told FOX23′s radio partner 102.3 KRMG Tulsa’s News and Talk that he is meeting with local health leaders at the end of the week to determine if the city’s mask mandate can be lifted early.

Bynum said a decision will come out soon about if the mask mandate will remain in place, or if Tulsa will drop it like some have in the surrounding communities.

A decision is expected next week.