OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Governor Kevin Stitt placed new restrictions Monday due to rising COVID-19 numbers in the state, but some said it isn’t enough.
“We need to slow the spread of this virus,” Stitt said in his Monday afternoon news conference.
“We want to save as many lives as possible and so we’re working in that direction,” said Dr. George Monks with the Oklahoma State Medical Association.
Although Monks said it’s a step in the right direction, he said he would like to see more done.
“There’s going to be two things that get us out of this jam,” Monks said. “One is universal masking; the other is just changing personal behavior.”
There were 2,729 cases reported Monday. The state also has 1,381 current hospitalizations, the highest number yet. Of those, 390 are in ICU, also the most cases ever.
Some hospitals in Oklahoma have reported that they are at capacity, like the Stillwater Medical Center.
“We’re knee deep in a hospital crisis,” Monks said.
To combat this, Stitt pointed his restrictions toward restaurants and bars. Mandating 6 feet between tables and limiting hours to closing them at 11 p.m.
However, Monday night, hours after the announcement residents like K.C. Ortega, a general manager for Pizzeria Gusto in Oklahoma City, weren’t “preparing” for the state’s new defense against COVID-19 because she said they have already had those restrictions in place for months.
“My attic is full of chairs and we’ve removed so many tables,” Ortega said. “Everything’s been distanced, we’re doing these things.”
As for masks and mandating them in their building, she said it’s been hard to get people to listen.
“It’s tough to have people cuss you out, it’s every day,” she said. “It’s kind of people to put their mask on when they come to the table, no one does that.”
The pandemic has hit her outside of her workplace. Her mother-in-law, a 15-year cancer survivor caught COVID-19.
“She got COVID and she ended up on a ventilator and it was awful,” she said. “She’s a 65-year-old woman who’s been so strong for so long and it almost killed her.”
Now, Ortega says she just hopes these new restrictions can be a step toward change in the right direction.
“Every time I go to their table and set their pizza down, they’re breathing on me, they could have it,” she said. “We want to stay alive and we want our families to thrive.”
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