Organization pushing state leaders to take action regarding coronavirus cases

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the number of novel coronavirus cases continues to rise across Oklahoma, a local organization says it is calling on state officials to take action to slow the spread of the virus.

On Thursday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 14,539 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March. 

That’s an increase of 427 cases over the past 24 hours, or a 3% jump.

Recently, health officials say they have seen a steady incline in cases across the state as more people go out in public and community spread increases.

Coronavirus model
FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

‘Save Our State Oklahoma’ has issued a letter to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and all elected officials, calling on them to take action to slow the spread of the virus.

“Our state is currently one of the top ten states for COVID-19 transmission rates. We are barreling toward a nightmarish scenario wherein our hospitals will be overrun and our economy will be forced into an unavoidable and prolonged shutdown. 

This language is not alarmist or hyperbolic; it’s our current reality. To continue addressing this crisis with rose-colored language will undoubtedly cost Oklahomans their lives and their livelihoods.

Months ago, more than 50,000 Oklahomans came together to ask for common sense action from our state and local leaders to protect each and every citizen as the crisis grew.

In spite of these calls, the failure of your office to act in a proactive manner and prematurely push the state back into a space of normalcy has led to the immense spike in case numbers we are seeing today.”

Letter to Gov. Stitt from ‘Save Our State Oklahoma’

As we celebrate the holiday weekend, the organization is asking state and city leaders for the following items:

  • To issue constituency-wide guidance on masks and require them for all employees directly interfacing with customers.
  • Implement clear capacity limits at inside and outside events which ensure social distancing is possible.
  • Work collaboratively to determine public metrics which would trigger the implementation of additional restrictions and closures.
  • Issue an immediate executive order giving power to local officials to take action within their own cities that goes above the actions being taken statewide.

Earlier this week, Gov. Stitt held a news conference to encourage Oklahomans to wear masks when out in public.

“Oklahomans, we come together to support each other, we support our neighbors in times of trouble, like after a tornado or a flood. We can extend the Oklahoma Standard by protecting our neighbors who may be more vulnerable to this virus. Research shows that wearing a mask when you can’t social distance significantly lowers the transmission rate of COVID-19. It may take some getting used to but it’s a small price to pay to be able to keep our businesses open, our economy running, and to be able to watch OU and OSU stick it to shorthorns on the football field in the fall,” Stitt said.

When pressed on the issue of mask wearing, Stitt told KFOR he would not go as far as mandating masks in public places.

“No, I will not reconsider mandating masks. We believe in freedoms. I will not mandate that in the State of Oklahoma,” Stitt said. 

On Wednesday, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said he was issuing new mandates regarding restaurants and bars.

The mandates require that all employees in restaurants and bars be required to wear masks, and bar capacity should be lowered by 50%. Also, venues with theater-style seating must stagger guest seating.

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