OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Medical Association released a statement Thursday afternoon urging elected officials, specifically Gov. Kevin Stitt, to urge more people to abide by CDC guidelines in Oklahoma.
“We just want a stronger position, not that it’s a personal right,” said Dr. Mary Clarke, the president-elect of the State Medical Association.
The following statement was sent out by the association’s current president, Dr. George Monks:
“Today, the Oklahoma State Health Department reported another 438 COVID-19 infections. This number alone is significant, but considering our state has reported over 5,300 new cases since June 1, it’s time we look seriously at what changes need to be made to prevent further increases in our quickly rising curve.
Oklahoma demonstrated early on we could manage our infection rates through proactive measures. Unfortunately, more than seven weeks after reopening began, most of the positive outcomes made during the early months of coronavirus have been erased by the growing number of large events coupled with a decreasing number of people who follow CDC guidelines.
The public has the information on how to impede the spread of this deadly virus: wear a mask in public; wash hands or use sanitizer often, and conduct social distancing, but too many people are still taking an “it’s not my problem” approach to the virus. Unfortunately, this is everyone’s problem. As we face this crucial tipping point, Oklahomans must decide if we’re going to move forward in the safest way possible or are we going to declare that the lives of those who have died from this disease are just not as important as our vanity.
On behalf of Oklahoma’s physicians, I urge Gov. Stitt and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to enhance their call of robust safety guidelines for Oklahoma businesses and public spaces that require employees and customers to wear masks around others. Furthermore, we recommend all admitted hospital and pre-operative surgical patients be screened for coronavirus.”Dr. George Monks
The statement comes the day of Oklahoma’s fourth highest rise in positive cases over a 24 hour period. There were 438 new positive cases into Thursday afternoon.
“He does continue to say that they recommend wearing protective covering,” Clarke said.
“I want to encourage people to use masks as well,” Stitt said in a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Dr. Mary Clarke will replace Dr. Monks at the State Medical Association in April 2021. She said the governor has urged the use of masks, but she said she sees another side of his encouragement.
“This is about freedom, it’s about personal responsibility, and I think Oklahomans do a really good job,” Stitt said at his news conference.
“This is not a personal choice,” Clarke said. “This is a public health crisis that we’ve seen like none other in our lifetime.”
Since entering the final phase of the reopening on June 1, Oklahoma has seen 5,300 new positive cases.
“We knew we were going to have a little bit of a bump and a spike in the numbers,” Stitt said.
Stitt adding that he’s always hesitant to mandate actions such as wearing masks. Also, Stitt said he feels Oklahoma is doing fine.
“We’re actually lower than most other states. We actually have the tenth fewest cases per capita in the nation,” Stitt said. “I’m really proud of how Oklahomans have handled this.”
Both elected officials and medical experts agree that the virus hasn’t gone away.
“We have to learn how to live with this, be responsible, keep ourselves safe,” Stitt said.
“We all have to do this, not five or ten or 20 or even 70 percent,” Clarke said. “We all have to do this otherwise this will continue to spread.”
Stitt said as of right now there are no discussions about closing the economy down.
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