OU Medicine Chief COVID-19 Officer Gives Update On Viral Pandemic In Oklahoma

Friday, August 21st 2020, 5:27 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper

TULSA, Okla. -

A previously unreleased White House Report recommends a statewide mask mandate in Oklahoma and the closure of bars.

The report from the Coronavirus Task Force said Oklahoma is in the red zone for new cases. It comes as the state health department announced nearly 11 hundred new cases in the past 24 hours, as well as 6 new deaths.

The report said Oklahoma ranks 15th in the country for new cases per 100,000 people, putting the state in their red zone.

The task force recommends to help lower that number, the state should adopt a statewide mask mandate.

Governor Kevin Stitt's Office said that report was shared with the Tulsa Health Department and OKC-County Health Department earlier this week.

They're also asking that report be publicly available for Oklahomans to see through the state health departments online portal.

His office said they do not have any current plans to close bars and directed us to a public health advisory they issued this month strongly recommending masks and other precautions.

This all comes as the state's seven-day rolling average continues to decline from the peak in late July, but OU's Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said it's appeared to have plateaued around 690 new cases per day.

He said he's an advocate for a statewide mask mandate because he's concerned about new spikes.

"It's really, really important that we slow the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Bratzler. “Right now we plateaued again, and with opening of schools, primary, secondary and college campuses I have real concerns of new spikes in the number of cases."

You can read the Governor’s full statement below.

“Every week, we review and discuss the COVID-19 guidance that comes to us from Washington, DC. 
The most recent State Report for Oklahoma, prepared by The White House Coronavirus Task Force on Aug. 16 and issued to the states on Aug. 17, was shared earlier this week with the Tulsa Health Department and OKC-County Health Department, and we have asked the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to begin making the reports publicly available each week by posting them to the coronavirus.health.ok.gov dashboard.  
My administration issued a Public Health Advisory to strongly recommend statewide face coverings for high-risk individuals and communal living facilities as well as additional measures for counties included in the orange and red risk level categories in the color-coded COVID-19 Alert System.  
Orange and Red Counties: Individuals age 11 and older wear face coverings in public settings, with exemptions including while eating at a restaurant, in a private office space, or at a religious ceremony where physical distancing can be achieved. 
Orange and Red Counties: Restaurant staff wear face coverings and tables should maintain six feet of distance or more. 
Statewide: Individuals age 11 and older wear face coverings when visiting nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, medical facilities, prisons, or other communal living facilities. 
Statewide: With the “Safer in Oklahoma” policy, individuals entering the State of Oklahoma from an area with substantial community spread, will wear a face covering in all public spaces and limit participating indoor gatherings for 10-14 days in accordance with CDC guidelines. 
The rate of positive cases is declining in Oklahoma and hospitalizations have remained stable.I remain encouraged by the steadfast resolve of Oklahoma’s frontline workers as they aggressively combat this virus. Let’s continue to come together as Oklahomans by following guidelines and furthering our downward trend.” – Governor Kevin Stitt