UPDATE: KFOR reported earlier today that Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that he tested positive for COVID-19. Since that report, community members have notified KFOR that Stitt was recently seen in public not wearing a face mask or face covering.
One viewer sent KFOR a photo of Stitt recently out in public without a mask on.
The following photo of Stitt shows him without a mask on while in the Walmart at Memorial and Pennsylvania in Oklahoma City. The photo, which is said to have been taken on Sunday, July 12, was posted on Facebook. The person who sent the photo to KFOR wishes to remain anonymous.
KFOR asked Stitt’s staff to confirm when the picture was taken, but they said they do not comment on the governor’s personal schedule.
Walmart issued a new policy on Wednesday requiring all shoppers to wear a mask in their stores beginning on Monday, July 20.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One day after Oklahoma saw its largest spike in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced that he has tested positive for the virus.
He says he doesn’t feel very ill, but is a little achy.
Stitt says that he is quarantining himself and will be working from home for the next two weeks.
“We have to adjust our behaviors,” Stitt said.
Stitt says he thinks he is the first governor to test positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic.
“I want to use my story to remind Oklahomans that if you’re not feeling well, we want you to get tested,” Stitt said.
So far, he says he doesn’t know where he contracted the virus but doesn’t believe that he was contagious before Saturday.
KFOR received a tip on Tuesday night, saying the governor had tested positive for COVID-19. KFOR immediately contacted the governor’s office to confirm that tip. After 40 minutes of no response, we submitted another request for comment.
At that time, Charlie Hannema, Stitt’s Chief of Communications, responded by thanking us for not reporting anything based on ‘assumptions’ and assured us that he had just talked to the governor and that governor was feeling “great.”
However, Stitt says that he is tested regularly for COVID-19, and received a positive result during his test on Tuesday afternoon around 12:30 p.m.
Stitt says that he doesn’t believe that going back through the reopening process is necessary, saying that Oklahoma has already flattened the curve.
At this point, he says he is not considering a mask mandate for the state.
Stitt did attend the President’s rally in Tulsa several weeks ago but he and the Oklahoma State Department of Health Commissioner say it was too long ago for that to be where Stitt contracted the illness. Stitt also attended a funeral for a fallen Tulsa police officer on July 9 where hundreds were in attendance.
On Tuesday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health showed that the state has had 21,738 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.
That’s an increase of 993 cases over the past 24 hours.
Officials say four additional people have died, bringing the total to 428 deaths connected to COVID-19.
Currently, officials say there are 546 people who are hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19.
Oklahoma Interim Commissioner of Health Lance Frye says the state currently has plenty of personal protective equipment for hospitals across the state, and that the positive rate of those tested for COVID-19 is lower than the national average.
Right now, Frye says the state has more than 240 hospital beds available for patients.
However, officials say the majority of the cases are in the 18 to 35-year-old age range, and most of those patients do not need to be hospitalized.
“We went from a crisis mode to a risk management mode” Frye said.
Although state leaders say they are watching the data closely, Gov. Kevin Stitt says Oklahomans should take precautions and learn from him.
Alicia Andrews, chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, released the following statement:
“This is a horrible disease that is impacting the lives of every Oklahoman, whether by personal loss of family members, loss of jobs, or other economic challenges. I am truly sorry that our Governor did not take the necessary precautions to protect himself and his family from this potentially fatal illness.
Frankly, I was concerned for the Governor when it was announced that Herman Cain was hospitalized with COVID-19. They were standing side-by-side, neither wearing masks or social distancing, at the Trump rally in Tulsa.
At a meeting just yesterday, the Governor sat at a table with the Lieutenant Governor and the Secretary of Agriculture. Even knowing he has the virus, none of these state officials were wearing masks. It is my sincere hope that the Governor will now step up to be the leader we all need in Oklahoma. If he mandates wearing masks in all public places in our state—and leads by example—it will certainly help to protect the lives of every Oklahoman.
While we will continue to pray for our Governor, we must also encourage him to do the right thing for all Oklahomans.”
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