OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt and state health officials called a press conference Tuesday afternoon to emphasize new guidelines Oklahomans should practice to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
“I know it can be an anxious and fearful time but we will get through this,” Stitt said.
Stitt took the podium Tuesday afternoon to calm the nerves of Oklahomans.
At the same time, he admitted the state is running low on COVID-19 test kits, and with no sign of the coronavirus slowing down, News 4 asked if Oklahoma is prepared.
“We should get some relief,” Commissioner of Health Gary Cox said. “We don’t have an exact date but it’s sooner rather than later.”
The state is in a critical window of rationing supplies until shipments arrive later this week.
However with only 350 test kits left at the State Health Department, elderly patients and people with pre-existing conditions are being bumped to the front of the line.
“We do not advise testing through our public lab, but we know there are outside labs and we hope they can fill that void,” State Epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed said.
Officials urge if you have symptoms to call your healthcare provider for a screening first.
“They may just be advised to stay home,” Burnsed said. “Most people will be able to care for themselves.”
Meanwhile, the governor rolled out a pair of executive orders to help contain the spread and prevent hospital overload.
Governor Stitt is now hopping on board with the CDC guidelines including, avoiding social gatherings of more than 10 people, don’t dine in and use drive-thrus, and avoid non-essential travel.
As far as shutting down all doors to bars and restaurants, Stitt says he is leaving it up to each mayor’s discretion for now.
“Let’s support our local restaurants,” Governor Stitt said. “Let’s do curbside and delivery and just innovate.”
Seventy-two hours ago the governor tweeted a controversial selfie at The Collective restaurant downtown.
It’s a topic that was brought to the attention of President Trump, who called Stitt’s picture contradicting and then downplayed the spread of the coronavirus in the Sooner state.
“Can we get your response to the reporter who specifically asked about your tweet, Governor Stitt,” News 4 reporter Peyton Yager asked.
“Yeah, the president said Oklahoma didn’t have a tremendous problem,” Governor Stitt said. “I don’t think he’s up to date on every single case in Oklahoma. But good news is we are ahead of the curve.”
Governor Stitt said he is also willing to call in the National Guard if it gets to that point.
He also is requiring all hospitals, clinics and private testing labs to report their test results every single day in order to monitor the capacity.
A 24/7 calling center has been set up as well. The number is (877) 215-8336.