“We’ve got a crisis on our hands right now,” Oklahoma City mayor asks residents to take a 10-day break from events

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, Oklahoma City Mayor says the city is in a crisis.

On Wednesday, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 161,425 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.

That’s an increase of 3,017 cases, or a 1.9% increase.

There were 26 additional deaths caused by the virus, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 1,570.

On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a series of executive orders that he said would keep businesses open but still work to protect Oklahomans.

Beginning Thursday, restaurants must ensure that all tables are six feet apart.

“This will allow them to continue to operate safely while making sure everyone is socially distanced. If they can’t stay six feet apart, they can also install properly sanitized dividers between tables, booths, and bar areas. The goal is to keep groups separated so we can slow the spread of COVID,” he said.

Also, all bars and restaurants must close each night at 11 p.m. However, curbside and drive-thru areas may still remain open.

Although Stitt refused to issue a mask mandate for the state, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt says the new restrictions are a step in the right direction.

“Well, we certainly welcome those. This is a very serious situation and I’m going to address the city later this afternoon to share some of the statistics that make those restrictions and many more precautions necessary. You know, we’ve seen cases in Oklahoma City rise in the last couple weeks from about 300 per day to about 800 per day and hospitalizations are creeping up to about 500 in the metro. So it could not be more grave. This is probably the most serious time in the pandemic’s history of the last eight months that we’ve had and that’s what I want to talk to the people of Oklahoma City about today. It’s time to really take serious, serious precautions for at least the next two weeks to try and get these numbers down. So we certainly welcome those restrictions from the governor and it’s his first restrictions on gathering places since May, which I think really reflects how the situation has changed in the last few weeks,” Holt said.

Holt says that while news of a potential vaccine is good, it will still be several months before it is distributed to the public.

In the meantime, it is up to Oklahomans to slow the spread and protect those that we love.

“When we started this journey back in March, we always kind of worked in two-week increments because it’s understandable. It’s something you can get your mind around. Sometimes when we just say, ‘Do better,’ and it’s open-ended, it can feel a little overwhelming. What I’m going to ask the people of Oklahoma City to do is really think of it for the next 10 days, to make different choices and really return to the mentality that we had in March and April. We have no choice because this thing is out of control right now. Here’s one stat that I use to illustrate that: In the last three weeks, one out of every 100 people in the Oklahoma City metro has received a positive test for COVID-19. I mean, that’s really staggering when you think about that. That’s just in the last three weeks and it’s just getting worse if we don’t do anything pretty significant,” he said.

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