OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As some state and national leaders look at ways to reopen the state, one Oklahoma organization is calling on Governor Kevin Stitt to close the state amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
‘Save Our State, Oklahoma’ sent a letter to Gov. Stitt with more than 2,000 signatures from residents who are urging him to expand his executive order to keep non-essential businesses closed until at least May 18.
“The IMHE model the Governor cited during his press conference shows that the state will hit its peak of hospitalizations and deaths between April 26th and May 6th. No other city, state or nation has pulled back on social distancing efforts in the middle of their projected peak, for very clear reasons,” a statement by Save Our State, Oklahoma read.
Earlier this week, Stitt said that Oklahomans need to continue practicing social distancing, wash their hands frequently, and limit their trips to the grocery store and pharmacy.
“We are working on plans to reopen our state, but let me be clear, we are not out of the woods yet,” he said.
Stitt cited recent data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which pushed Oklahoma’s peak back to April 30. The latest data suggests that Oklahoma will only need around 880 hospital beds at the surge.
“We are in fantastic shape with hospital beds,” he said.
However, the IHME data also suggests that Oklahoma might see a dramatic spike in the number of deaths related to COVID-19.
Last week, the IHME graph predicted that Oklahoma would see 697 deaths related to the virus by August 4.
Now, that number has jumped to 929.
“Governor Stitt and his team are taking all factors and scientific data into consideration in order to make responsible decisions to protect the health and safety of Oklahomans. The point of the actions across the country has been to flatten the curve so our hospital capacity is not exceeded. That is why hospitalizations are the metric. As a note, 67.6% of those that have passed away have had an underlying health condition and the average age of those hospitalized with COVID-19 is 65.5. This is why the governor took action today to extend his Safer at Home order until May 6,” a statement from the governor’s office to KFOR read.
Stitt announced that he is extending his ‘Safer At Home’ order until May 6 for the most vulnerable populations across the state.
However, the organization says that is not enough.
In the letter, the group calls on Stitt to amend the ‘safer at home’ order to include all Oklahomans across the state, clarify the definition of essential businesses and lay out clear requirements for businesses that remain open.
Also, the group asks that the executive order is extended until at least May 18th, and to not cut essential services during the emergency.