Officials Address Statewide Spike In COVID-19 Cases


Monday, November 9th 2020, 5:45 pm
By: Caleigh Bourgeois


OKLAHOMA CITY -

After a spike in Oklahoma’s COVID-19 cases over the weekend, health officials are encouraging masks and social distancing.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported more than 4,000 new cases of the virus on Saturday.

OSDH officials attribute some of the rise to backlog, but they said it's still reflective of the pandemic’s presence in the state.

“Our numbers are increasing and should be taken seriously. We're going to call on all Oklahomans to take immediate action to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” OSDH Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said.

Frye and state epidemiologist Dr. Jared Taylor acknowledged the statistical spike in Oklahoma's COVID-19 cases.

Frye said he has been talking with Governor Kevin Stitt about solutions. Nothing is off the table, Frye said.

“We're talking about closing up restaurants or limiting capacity to restaurants. We're talking about closing bars, limiting capacity, limiting large gatherings,” Frye said.

Stitt’s team did not respond to News 9’s request for an interview Monday.

Stitt plans to hold a press conference to discuss COVID-19 on Tuesday. The governor also released a statement on the numbers over the weekend.

“Now, more than ever, I am asking each Oklahoman to do the right thing and protect their families, neighbors and those who are most vulnerable,” Stitt’s statement read in part.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City mayor David Holt told News 9 he would welcome Stitt implementing regional mask mandates.

"Every day, the state health department distributes data that demonstrates how cities with a mask ordinance have lower transmission rates than cities that don't. It's a proven fact here in the state of Oklahoma,” Holt said.

Holt said the city council will discuss extending the local mask mandate beyond Dec. 7.

Dr. Dale Bratzler with OU Medicine recommends Oklahomans plan for a socially-distanced Thanksgiving.

“If you're bringing people into your home who don't usually live with you, then wear masks as well. Take activities outdoors if feasible,” Bratzler said.