Gov. Stitt’s Secretary of Health breaks down state’s plans to keep Oklahomans safe during coronavirus outbreak

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Right now, Oklahoma is preparing for the possibility of more cases of COVID-19 across the state.

“We will have tens of thousands of infected people. It could be hundreds of thousands of infected people,” said Jerome Loughridge, Governor Stitt’s Secretary of Health.

Loughridge laying out the state’s current plans to keep Oklahomans safe.

“By going in this county by county mode I think we’ll avoid having to lock everyone down with more stringent requirements like New York did,” Loughridge said.

The governor announced today Oklahoma State University received the reagents to perform 10,000 new test kits.

These made available by private donors as part of a collaborative effort to get more people here tested, especially those who need it most.

“What we really have to focus on is the most vulnerable. 65 and over and the immunocompromised– people more susceptible to disease. That’s why we’re doing these restrictions,” Loughridge said.

Loughridge says right now Oklahoma has roughly 682 ventilators and 800 ICU beds, but believes they’re not behind the curve like some other states.

While there has been a delay of results for some people’s tests, he says the State Department of Health has the ability to diagnose within a day. The contracted-out tests are what takes longer.

“Larger portions are done either by contract with private labs that the state contracts with or in many more cases it’s individual providers. So, hospitals and clinics who have their own contracts with private labs,” Loughridge said.

Loughridge says the state is continuing to urge Oklahomans to practice ‘social distancing’ by staying in their homes as much as possible and to be prepared for this to take some time.

“This thing is gonna be here for a long time. It’s gonna be many weeks and maybe into several months,” Loughridge said.

Loughridge also says the state is working alongside health care providers to designate two hospitals specifically to COVID-19 patients. He said those will each be in the Tulsa and OKC metros. They should nail down which two hospitals will be used here in the next week.

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