Gov. Kevin Stitt encouraged Oklahomans to wear masks and to be careful socializing during the upcoming holiday weekend. But, he said overall, the state is doing a good job fighting COVID-19.
The governor’s warnings come as the State Department of Health reports the state's largest daily increase in COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic.
Wearing a neck gaiter as he delivered his COVID-19 update Tuesday, Stitt acknowledged that infections have increased since the state reopened, but he says that was expected.
"It’s always to flatten to curve," Stitt said. "The goal was never to have zero cases in Oklahoma. It’s just not practical to have zero cases. But it is practical to flatten that curve and make sure we protect our fellow citizens."
The governor says he will not order Oklahomans to wear masks. He is ordering the state health department to give Oklahomans a visual aid that will reflect how much COVID-19 has spread in each county. He says it will give citizens information they can use to make their own decisions.
Stitt cited research that shows wearing masks significantly lowers the transmission rate of COVID-19. He also added the motivation of watching college football to one of the reasons to wear masks.
"It may take some getting used to, but it's a small price to pay to be able to keep our businesses open, our economy running and to be able to watch OU and OSU stick it to the 'shorthorns' on the football field in the fall," Stitt said.
"So, it's this easy," Stitt continued, pulling a State of Oklahoma-branded neck gaiter up over his nose and mouth for four seconds.