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Gov. Stitt: Oklahoma On Track For Phase Two Of Reopening

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt gives an update on the state's response to COVID-19 on May 6, 2020 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Governor Kevin Stitt says Oklahoma is on track for Phase 2 of hisOpen Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan on May 15.

Stitt says Oklahoma has flattened the curve and infection rates continue to be lower here when compared to the rest of the country. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to totally return to normal.

Oklahoma has the second-lowest rate of infection in states with more than two million people and the eighth lowest overall infection rate when adjusted for population.

But, Stitt said he will keep a watchful eye on rates and if Oklahoma sees a reversal of fortunes, he might reinstate some restrictions.

"There’s always a fear of course that we could have a resurgence in the fall. There’s always a fear… that’s why we’re taking this slow and why we’re moving these phases out 14 days apart," Stitt said. "That’s why we’re looking at data every single day."

Stitt says he wants to more than double the number of tests done by the end of the month. Oklahoma has tested more than 83,000 specimens to date.

One hot spot continues to be the panhandle’s Texas County, home to a Seaboard Foods pork processing plant. There have been 151 cases at the plant.

The state is working closely with the company, and has opened up Panhandle State University’s campus in Goodwell to quarantine workers and people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Stitt said getting unemployment claims processed and paid is a top priority, but recognized it has been a frustrating and slow process.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe said that $432 million in unemployment benefits have been paid since March 15. He said there have been about 18,000 PUA claims and the state has paid about 8,000 of those. He said he's working to get most of those processed in the next couple of days.

Ostrowe also said they have identified more than 6,700 fraudulent unemployment claims.

Stitt continued his call for more Oklahomans to get tested, even if they aren't experiencing symptoms, and call 2-1-1 to schedule a test.

Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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