Governor Stitt facebook press conference

Governor Stitt answered questions at the press conference today that was live on Facebook. 

**Updated to attach full text of the executive order.
 
"We are committed to providing best service based on data available," said Governor Kevin Stitt opening today's press conference updating Oklahoma on new executive orders from his office.
 
Gov. Stitt said, "We know that as we increase testing capacity our numbers will go up. We suspect we have around 500 cases and expect it could get up into the thousands. We are taking more action to flatten curve. If we take no measures at all, cases will outstrip capacity and healthcare system."
 
The executive orders directed all vulnerable populations to stay home until April 30.
 
  • As of midnight on March 24, 2020, gatherings are restricted to 10 or fewer people across the state.
  • Issuing safer at home to all vulnerable populations to stay home until April 30
  • To protect the elderly there will be no visitation in nursing homes or long care facilities effective immediately.
  • All 19 counties with a positive case must close all nonessential businesses by 11:59 p.m. on March 25, 2020 for 21 days. This includes business with close contact such as gyms, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, or any business that has social gathering. There are 16 total categories that must close. Federal guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce can be found here: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce
  • Restaurants are encouraged to stay open offering curb side and pick-up only.
  • If you feel sick or have been around someone who is sick, stay home and isolate yourself.
  • Elective surgeries, minor procedures and non-emergency procedures will be put on hold for 14 days.
 
"Business have done a good job up to this point. I can not emphasize enough the importance of social distancing and working from home. We need all Oklahomans to take this really, really seriously," Gov. Stitt said. "This may need the new normal for a little bit so we need to be creative."
 
Elizabeth Strum, who has been added to the task force, said, "We have ordered and are anticipating to procure reagent and we currently are anticipating receiving 10,000 test kids with labs up and running with the ability to administer 2,000-2,800 test per day by the end of the week. We are working on getting testing set up with OU and OSU so we can get results more quickly."
 
Gov. Stitt said that within the next few days his Be a Neighbor Initiative will be released. They state is also looking at designating two hospitals in the state for the treatment of COVID-19 patients so that resources can be focused. More information will be released in the coming days. He also indicated the task force is still working on a number of things to help during this pandemic.
 
"We don’t make these decisions lightly. We know it affects all four million Oklahomans. We must come together in the next few days. We are going to get through this Oklahoma. We have been in tough times before. Together we will come through this stronger," Gov. Stitt said.
 
Secretary Loughridge stated that COVID-19 is now a disease that must be immediately reported to state. Labs that refuse to report findings may face criminal or civil penalties.
 
"We are following the data. All 19 counties with cases have more restrictions based on the recommendation of experts. In counties that do not have a positive test we focusing on the vulnerable population. We are taking what we think is appropriate action for the data that we have at this time," Gov. Stitt said.
 
"We don’t make these decisions lightly. We know it affects all four million Oklahomans. We must come together in the next few days. We are going to get through this Oklahoma. We have been in tough times before. Together we will come through this stronger," Gov. Stitt said.

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Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.