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Oklahoma Guard troops to transition out of COVID-19 response

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma National Guard troops who have been assisting the state’s response to COVID-19 will begin ending their assignment this week.

The State Health Department said in a statement Monday that the troops will begin transitioning out of the agency beginning Thursday. Over a 15-month deployment, Guard troops helped sanitize long-term-care facilities, distribute personal protective gear and transport testing specimens and supplies across the state.

Meanwhile, data from Johns Hopkins University shows Oklahoma’s seven-day rolling average of daily deaths and daily new cases have both increased over the last two weeks, from 120.29 new cases per day June 12 to 196.43 new cases per day June 26.

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Kansas to end cold weather rule halting utility disconnection

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Cold Weather Rule is set to end Wednesday March 31. The measure was enacted to prevent electric and natural gas utility bills from disconnecting service from customers struggling to pay their bill. When the rule ends, customers behind on their bills will need to contact their utility provider to make payment arrangements.

Utility customers experiencing difficulty keeping up with their bills are encouraged to call their utility no later than Wednesday to be eligible for the Cold Weather Rule 12-month payment plan to catch up on overdue accounts. Under the plan, the customer must make an initial payment of 1/12 of the overdue amount, 1/12 of the bill for current service, the full amount of any disconnection or reconnection fees if any, plus any applicable deposit owed to the utility. The balance is billed in equal payments over the next 11 months, in addition to the regular monthly bill.

On December 15, 2020, the Commission extended an earlier order related to COIVD-19 that requires utilities under its jurisdiction to offer 12-month payment plans and waive late fees through the official end of the pandemic. That order is still in effect, but customers who have two previous broken pay agreements may not qualify. That is why it is important to make arrangements before the Cold Weather Rule ends.