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Gov. Stitt Issues Executive Orders To Slow Spread Of COVID-19

State officials urged Oklahomans not to panic in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that is impacting the state in a press conference Tuesday.

Governor Kevin Stitt says that a pair of executive orders will help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. And in the meantime, he wants people to stay calm.

"I know Oklahomans are hurting. A lot of them are anxious and fearful of the future," said Stitt. "But I want Oklahomans to know that we will get through this."

The executive orders recommend people follow the Centers for Disease Control rules that limit gatherings of more than 10 people, limit visits to nursing homes and recommend that people practice social distancing.

If people take basic actions like washing their hands, the state can reduce the number of cases, mitigating strain on hospitals and medical providers.

Here are the details of the two executive orders:

Amended Executive Order (EO) 2020-07 updates the State of Emergency issued on Sunday, March 15 to include provisions suspending certain State regulations that could limit state and community partners from proactively reducing the threat of COVID-19 and responding quickly. Some of these provisions include:

  • Requiring all hospitals, medical clinics, and private testing labs to report accurate data to the state health department every day regarding their capacity to accept new patients, their equipment supplies, and their testing results.
  • Cutting regulations on telemedicine, making it easier for Oklahomans to see a doctor without leaving home.
  • Allowing health care professionals, like doctors and nurses, who are licensed in another state to receive a temporary license to practice in Oklahoma.
  • Cutting restrictions on truck drivers and commercial vehicles so they can effectively respond and transport medical supplies and other items across the state.

Stitt also issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-08, which strongly recommends Oklahomans follow all guidance from the CDC to protect public health over the next 15 days. These recommendations include:

  • Listen to and follow the directions of federal, state and local authorities.
  • If you feel sick, stay home and contact your medical provider. Do not go to work.
  • If your children are sick, keep them at home and contact their medical provider.
  • If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household at home and contact your medical provider.
  • If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
  • If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at an increased risk, stay home and away from other people.
  • Work or engage in schooling from home, whenever possible.
  • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts and use drive thru, pickup, or delivery options.
  • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
  • Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  • Practice good hygiene and wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface, avoid touching your face, sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow, and disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
Robby Korth joined StateImpact Oklahoma in October 2019, focusing on education reporting.
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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