Oklahoma Governor Announces New Measures In Effort To Stem Coronavirus Spread
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday announced new measures being taken to increase testing for and stopping the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), as the state continues to experience dramatic spikes in the number of cases being reported.
As of Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reported 719 COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths. That’s up from 565 cases and 23 deaths on Tuesday.
Stitt said during a press conference Wednesday that the best way to flatten the curve and stop the spread is through aggressive testing and tracing, as well as the continued practice of social distancing.
“I know how much these decisions affect people, but this is the right time to take these steps in order to protect our health care workers, our hospital systems and each other. These next few weeks are critical, and it will take all of us doing our part to stop the spread in Oklahoma,” Stitt said.
According to a press release from Stitt’s office, the statewide measures include the following:
- Closes all businesses not identified as being within a critical infrastructure sector, such as gyms, salons, massage parlors and movie theaters, where counties have community spread effective through April 30.
- Requires restaurants in all 77 counties to provide take-out and delivery options only and closes all bars through April 30.
- Postpones all elective surgeries, minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures until April 30.
- Issues a statewide “Safer at Home” order for adults over the age of 65 and vulnerable individuals with serious underlying medical conditions until April 30.
- Prohibits visitations to nursing homes and long-term care facilities through April 30.
- Limits gatherings to no more than 10 people through April 30.
Stitt said some of the restrictions on who can be tested for COVID-19 have been lifted.
“Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, or those who have been in direct contact with someone who has been diagnosed needs to be tested,” said Stitt. “One of the things that will help the modeling is more test results – that’s why it’s so important for our health care providers and our local health departments to test as many people as possible.”
According to the release, the state now has 13,000 COVID-19 test kits available, and Oklahoma State University has opened its lab to process a minimum of 2,300 tests per day.
The governor also announced that the state now has six drive-thru testing locations: Comanche County Health Department, Lawton; Jackson County Health Department, Altus; Kay County Health Department, Ponca City; Pittsburg County Health Department, McAlester; Tulsa Health Department, Tulsa; and Oklahoma County Health Department, Woodward.
Visit https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/drive-thru-testing to learn more about testing requirements and capacity.