Gov Stitt Offers Updates About COVID-19, Treatments In Oklahoma

Thursday, September 17th 2020, 4:44 pm
By: Jordan Tidwell

Governor Kevin Stitt updated Oklahomans on the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday. 

He encouraged people to stay vigilant against the virus and continue to wear masks and physically distance.  

He said the state gives guidance that everyone should wear a mask and follow CDC guidelines, but he will still not be issuing a statewide mask mandate.

The governor said they have seen data where some cities that have mask mandates are seeing a drop in numbers, but it's still up to local communities to decide the best course of action for their residents.

"Some of the local communities who have decided to do that, we applaud that,” Stitt said. “We think that's a local decision, and I'm not going to mandate that statewide because I don't think there's a one size fits all for this virus.” 

The governor also gave an update on a treatment option. 

He said 'remdesivir' is helping people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 recover faster. Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug that doctors said is showing it can lessen the effects of the virus.

The governor said the state has an ample supply with 810 vials being delivered this week and 300 more on the way.

Stitt said the drug will be given to hospitals throughout the state and he is allowing them to request it based on their needs. He said so far, he's pleased with the results he's seeing.

"You can take it through an IV, and it's only for people who are really sick and, in the hospital,,” Stitt said. “Actually, a report from Baylor Scott and White shows remdesivir as made COVID patients 62% more likely to recover.” 

He also spoke on the number of hospitalizations in the state. 

Stitt said right now, 516 Oklahomans are in the hospital with COVID 19. That's compared to the 560 who were hospitalized in March. He said he's happy with this decline especially since the state has been reopened for more than three months. Right now, they are noticing fewer people getting the virus and having to go to the hospital.

The governor said the goal during the entire pandemic is to protect hospitals and their capacity, so they are pleased with what they are seeing.

"So to hit capacity, you can run the numbers, but we would have to start approaching 3,000 cases a day for 14 days straight before you could see those numbers going up and the hospitalizations, so those are the things we look at," he said. 

The governor once again reminded Oklahomans to remain vigilant by practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands.