OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Some state lawmakers say Oklahoma is not doing enough to fight the current upturn in COVID-19 numbers. House Democrats have a plan they say will keep the public better informed so infections can be curbed.
Democratic leaders say a system, already in place in the UK, could give Oklahomans the information they need about coronavirus on a daily basis.
“In the beginning, we didn’t have that statewide guidance and we still don’t have it,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin.
Virgin says she has come up with the Oklahoma Virus Alert Plan. The color-coded format would allow state health officials to let citizens and businesses know the current level of transmission risk and the precautionary steps they should take to fight against community spread.
“You could easily move from one level to another on any given day,” said Virgin.
Virgin says updated directives would better guard against another economic shutdown without local leaders having to make huge mandates to roll back reopening protocols.. She is calling on the governor to take steps to implement her plan.
The representative from Norman is also taking aim at Gov. Stitt for his stance on not wearing masks despite what health officials say.
“This issue is not partisan, although, sadly, some have made it partisan. Oklahomans deserve their governor to be loyal to them instead of any political party,” she said.
We reached out to the governor’s office for reaction.. They issued the following statement:
“Governor Stitt and his administration have been committed to providing accurate, detailed data to Oklahomans from the start. Daily data provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health continues to earn national praise for its transparency and level of depth, including an A+ rating from the COVID Tracking Project. As we are 62 days into our safe and measured reopening plan, the governor has repeatedly reminded Oklahomans that COVID-19 is still in Oklahoma and to take precautions. Oklahomans cherish their freedom to value facts over fear and to take informed steps to protect their families.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, to see the minority party continue to try to play politics during a pandemic.”Charlie Hannema, Chief of Communications
“It’s not a political issue, it’s a public health issue; it’s about doing what you can to protect citizens,” Virgin said.
Virgin says it could be put in place without going through the House and Senate because it has no enforcement. She says it just gets information from the Health Department to the public in an easier to understand way.