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Gov. Stitt addresses Oklahoma's response to COVID-19

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Posted at 4:38 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 17:49:41-04

TULSA, Okla.  — There are new questions about Oklahoma's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After Governor Kevin Stitt's private meeting Sunday with Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the governor told 2 Works for You that Dr. Birx didn't make any specific recommendations for Oklahoma.

READ MORE: Dr. Deborah Birx visits Tulsa

Now, a White House report shows Dr. Birx's task force has recommended Oklahoma take a number of steps, including issuing a statewide mask mandate and closing bars.

2 Works for You reached out to Gov. Stitt to find out why he hasn't followed the recommendations.

The governor sent us this statement:

Every week, we review and discuss the COVID-19 guidance that comes to us from Washington, DC.

The most recent State Report for Oklahoma, prepared by The White House Coronavirus Task Force on Aug. 16 and issued to the states on Aug. 17, was shared earlier this week with the Tulsa Health Department and OKC-County Health Department, and we have asked the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to begin making the reports publicly available each week by posting them to the coronavirus.health.ok.gov dashboard.

My administration issued a Public Health Advisory [coronavirus.health.ok.gov] to strongly recommend statewide face coverings for high-risk individuals and communal living facilities as well as additional measures for counties included in the orange and red risk level categories in the color-coded COVID-19 Alert System [coronavirus.health.ok.gov].

Orange and Red Counties: Individuals age 11 and older wear face coverings in public settings, with exemptions including while eating at a restaurant, in a private office space, or at a religious ceremony where physical distancing can be achieved.

Orange and Red Counties: Restaurant staff wear face coverings and tables should maintain six feet of distance or more.

Statewide: Individuals age 11 and older wear face coverings when visiting nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, medical facilities, prisons, or other communal living facilities.

Statewide: With the “Safer in Oklahoma” policy, individuals entering the State of Oklahoma from an area with substantial community spread, will wear a face covering in all public spaces and limit participating indoor gatherings for 10-14 days in accordance with CDC guidelines.

The rate of positive cases is declining in Oklahoma and hospitalizations have remained stable.I remain encouraged by the steadfast resolve of Oklahoma’s frontline workers as they aggressively combat this virus. Let’s continue to come together as Oklahomans by following guidelines and furthering our downward trend.

Oklahoma's state health department reported 1,077 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, along with six additional deaths.

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