Managing an organization in a pandemic that has a significant component of its activity dependent on in person gatherings can be a challenge. As I look at our work together over the last 4 and a half months I think we have acted responsibly to find a balance between business as usual in the middle of a 100-year pandemic and complete elimination of in-person gatherings. We did this by linking, and refining, our community spread to the in person attendance cap. We were edging close to an in-person attendance increase when in late September the community spread, hospitalizations and deaths began to increase. Unfortunately now in late October we have yet another surge. The one day state wide case increase of 4,507 cases was jaw dropping.
Unfortunately this latest surge in the spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma and in Oklahoma City and County has exceeded our attendance limits that are tied to community spread. The Board policy guides us to not have in-person attendance when our 7-day average for new cases in Oklahoma City/County exceeds 250 cases per day. The 7-day average has now exceeded for 5 consecutive days, and based on what is expected these averages will not return quickly in a few days. Therefore, effective November 17th we will return to virtual meetings with only a small group that will put on the program for the benefit of the live stream audience. There will be no other in person attendance. We believe continuing to provide a live streamed program, even without in-person attendance, will give a better virtual experience than if we simply go full virtual using Zoom. My hope is that this only lasts for a few weeks. We will follow it carefully.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.