Stitt declares health emergency

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Stitt declares health emergency

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 14:00
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One-hundred and sixty more positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed Thursday morning by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. That brings the number of Oklahomans infected with the virus to 879.

Four additional deaths have been reported including two in Tulsa County, one in Stephens County and one in Muskogee County. There are now 34 total deaths in the state.

As of Thursday afternoon, Kay County remained at 24 positive COVID-19 cases. The state now has supplies to test more than 13,000 individuals for COVID-19.

New regional drive-thru testing sites are open in multiple cities in Oklahoma now.

The Kay County Health Department will offer COVID-19 screening and testing services by appointment only. Instructions for drivethru services will be provided at the time the appointment is made.

Photo ID is required.

The health department is located at 433 Fairview Avenue. The phone number is 762-1641.

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday afternoon extended his “Safer At Home” order until April 30 and included all counties, rather than just those with a confirmed case. The order requires non-essential businesses to shut down and the elderly and medically vulnerable to stay indoors.

“A lot of this is about personal responsibility ... even when people get out to the grocery stores and they have to go to the pharmacy, we know we have be out of our house, it’s not practical to bunker in the whole society through the end of April,” Stitt said.

It’s up to residents to observe social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, he said.

“As governor I can’t wave a magic wand and make this thing disappear,” Stitt said.

“Going to the grocery store as a family isn’t something that needs to be done. This isn’t a social outing. Send one person from the house to the store.”

Stitt called Thursday for a special session of the Legislature as part of his declaration of a health emergency in all 77 counties.

Declaring a health emergency gives the governor broader powers to coordinate the state’s response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, including the ability to waive some statutory or regulatory requirements, said Stitt spokesman Charlie Hannema. State law requires the Legislature to convene within two business days to either concur with or terminate the health emergency, so the Legislature is expected to convene at 8 a.m. Monday.

“Now is the time to align all public health entities in the state as we work together to prepare for a surge in demand on our hospitals,” Stitt said in a statement. “This will allow us to coordinate resources and ensure all Oklahomans have the best access to the medical care they need.”