Senate Democrats call on Stitt to come up with plan to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the state prepares to move into the third phase of its reopening plan, state lawmakers are calling on the governor to take more action when it comes to protecting those in nursing homes.

On Friday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 6,338 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March. 

According to the latest data, experts say there were only 68 new cases of the virus from Thursday’s numbers, or a 1.1% increase.

Right now, officials say there are 998 active cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.

As a result, Gov. Kevin Stitt says he believes the state is prepared to move into phase three of the ‘Open Up and Recover Safely’ plan.

Under phase three, businesses may resume unrestricted staffing at their worksites and are recommended to continue increased cleaning and disinfecting practices.

Limited visitation at hospitals can be reinstated, but visitation at nursing homes and long-term care facilities will remain suspended.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been hard hit by COVID-19.

Now, Democrats in the Oklahoma State Senate are calling on Stitt to take further action on COVID-19 in those facilities.

On Friday, Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd sent a letter to the governor, asking him to create a plan for repeated and ongoing testing in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

We are writing to follow up on your commitment to test all Oklahoma nursing home staff and residents for COVID-19 by the end of May. On May 6th, Secretary of Health Loughridge reported that 12,250 specimens out of about 31,500 total residents and staff at nursing homes in the state had been tested so far. We respectfully request that your administration provide the Legislature with updated testing numbers and a report on progress toward completing testing by the end of this month.

We also request a plan for repeated and ongoing testing in nursing homes and long term care facilities. As you are aware, more than half of Oklahoma’s COVID-19 deaths have occurred at nursing homes and long term care facilities and people connected to these facilities account for around one in five of Oklahoma’s positive COVID-19 cases.

Finally, your executive order limiting visitation to nursing home facilities expires on May 30th. We urge you to put forward a clear and workable plan to safely allow families to resume visitation to their loved ones who reside in these facilities. Our caucus stands ready to work with you and your administration on this important matter.

Sen. Kay Floyd, on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

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