Senate Democrats ask Gov. Stitt for ‘stronger statewide action’
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Published: 29-Mar-2020

Editor’s Note: On Sunday (March 29), Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, sent a letter on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus to Governor Kevin Stitt urging him to take stronger statewide action on COVID-19. A copy of the letter is attached and the text is below:

March 29, 2020

The Honorable Kevin Stitt
Governor of Oklahoma
Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73107

Dear Governor Stitt:

On behalf of the Oklahoma Senate Democratic Caucus, I am writing to urge you to take further action to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.

We thank you for measures your administration has already implemented, including your latest executive orders directing vulnerable individuals to stay at home and requiring non-essential businesses in counties with COVID-19 cases to temporarily close. We also support your actions to increase the supply of COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment for medical providers.

While ongoing efforts are a step in the right direction, we agree with medical experts, including the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Hospital Association, and the Oklahoma Nurses Association among others who are urging you to immediately issue an executive order implementing a statewide shelter in place policy. Several municipalities have already issued shelter in place orders, including Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, and Bethany. Now is the time to extend these measures to the whole state.

Limiting safer at home measures only to the 40 counties that already have COVID-19 cases will not effectively contain the community transmission of COVID-19. We are also concerned that allowing too many business sectors to be classified as essential and exempt from your executive order undercuts its effectiveness. Since Oklahoma recorded its first COVID-19 case on March 5th, the number of cases has grown exponentially to 377 as of March 28th.

We respectfully urge you to implement a more clear and consistent statewide policy to prevent further community transmission of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. Absent such action, the current trajectory will lead our state’s hospital bed capacity to be exceeded and overwhelmed before the virus has been contained.

We understand that adopting a statewide shelter in place policy will place a tremendous strain on our state’s businesses and workers, however, combating the COVID-19 pandemic emergency calls for extraordinary efforts and sacrifice. As Oklahomans, we have always demonstrated a remarkable ability to come together as a community in times of tragedy and disaster. It is the Oklahoma Standard we are so proud of and need now more than ever.

Our caucus stands ready to work with you. Now is the time for action without delay.

Kay Floyd
Senate Democratic Leader

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