OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Thursday, Gov. Kevin Stitt and state health officials gave an update on the state’s response to COVID-19.
Both spoke at length about the improvements in treating the virus, specifically with the drug Remdesivir. Remdesivir is an ant-viral medication being used on COVID-19 patients in the hospital that Stitt says is showing great results.
“You can take it through an IV and it’s only for people who are really sick in the hospital. A report shows Remdesivir has made COVID patients 62 percent more likely to recover,” Stitt said. “I’m pleased to tell you now there’s an ample supply of this drug in the state of Oklahoma.”
Doctors say Remdesivir has also shown that it can decrease the average hospital stay from around 15 days to 11.
Even with this breakthrough in treatment options, Stitt says it’s not time to relax.
“Oklahoma hear me on this, just because doctors and nurses can treat you doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all do our part to slow the spread. As schools are reopening, we still need to take personal responsibility,” Stitt said. “It’s up to each of us to protect our families, our neighbors, our communities.”
Stitt was also asked about a recent report from the White House that said Oklahoma was in the top five for both positive test rate and daily COVID-19 cases.
Stitt says those numbers aren’t correct, and Oklahoma is doing much better according to other reports.
“Look at the Johns Hopkins, that’s the positivity rate that we track,” Stitt said. “We’re nowhere close to number five in the country. That’s one of the things where we’re gonna make a phone call to the White House to find [out] exactly where they’re getting their numbers.”
According to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, Oklahoma is 14th in daily positive test rate at 8.6%, but Oklahoma is tied with Kansas for 5th in COVID-19 cases per 1000 people at 0.25%.
It also appears there is not a statewide mask mandate in Oklahoma’s future. Governor Stitt has long said he’s against a mandate and reiterated that again on Thursday.
“I believe a mask mandate is unenforceable. I’m not going to mandate something that I think you can’t enforce,” Stitt said. “Making someone in Western Oklahoma that has zero cases where a mask is not practical.”
Stitt did continue to urge Oklahomans to wear a mask to slow the spread of the virus, even though he was seen without one at a recent event in Guthrie.
“I’m around the state; if I forgot to put this on, I don’t know. People take pictures of me all the time and probably post stuff and it’s some folks that probably have a different agenda than we do,” Stitt said. “I promote, promote wearing masks and if I forgot to put it on and I was talking to somebody and somebody grabbed a picture, uh, I don’t have a comment about that.”
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