Oklahoma has seen a big spike in coronavirus cases in the past week, prompting Gov. Kevin Stitt Monday to issue an executive order advising Oklahomans to stay home and avoid groups of 10 or more people,
A week ago, Oklahoma reported 17 cases of the COVID-19 virus. Today, the Oklahoma Department of Health (OSDH) reports 81 cases, mostly in Oklahoma County (29), Cleveland County (16) and Tulsa County (11). The state has reported two COVID-19 virus deaths.
Stitt’s executive order advises Oklahomans to abide by the following:
- Stay home and avoid groups of 10 or more people
- Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts. Instead use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options
- Avoid discretionary travel, gyms, social visits, and shopping trips
- Do not visit nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities
Stitt also activated the Oklahoma National Guard Regional Training Institute to observe COVID-19 developments and be ready to take actions requested by the governor to help communities and hospitals and formed the Governor’s Solution Task Force to provide comprehensive solutions for the pandemic.
He also filed an executive order Sunday to allow Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma to perform COVID-19 testing, which will increase the state’s testing capacity 10 times once the labs are fully online.
Stitt also directed the OSDH to open four satellite locations in Oklahoma - Tulsa, Kay, Carter and Pittsburg Counties - to conduct testing of Oklahomans with COVID-19 symptoms; entered into a public-private partnership with Diagnostic Laboratories of Oklahoma (DLO) to expand the state’s capacity to deliver COVID-19 testing results; and implemented statewide reporting requirements to collect and create transparent data of hospitals’ bed capacity, equipment supplies, and COVID-19 testing capacity. Those locations are not yet open.
Additionally, Stitt has put into place the following:
- Transformed the state’s 2-1-1 hotline into a tool for Oklahomans to call and receive screening public health support for COVID-19.
- Suspended several regulations on telemedicine to ease capabilities for Oklahomans to receive medical support from a doctor without leaving home.
- Established expedited process for nurses with inactive licenses to get recertified.
- Suspended various regulations on truck drivers and commercial vehicles for transporting medical supplies and other critical items across state lines.
- Temporarily extending licensing reciprocity for health care professionals, like doctors and nurses, who hold licenses to practice in other states.
He also implemented a ban of out-of-state business travel for state employees.
On the education front, Stitt implemented the following:
- Closed all accredited PreK-12thgrade public schools for students and educators until April 6, as directed by the State Superintendent and SDE Board.
- Suspended academic assessments for grades 3-8 or to high school juniors and suspended th Oklahoma School Report Cards for the 2019-2020 school year, as requested by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and approved by the U.S. Department of Education on March 20.
For more on Stitt’s executive orders and other COVID-19 developments and information, visit https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/.