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COVID-19 Response: Stitt 'Cautiously Optimistic' Curve is Flattening, Oklahoma Has 'Plenty' PPE

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The Oklahoman
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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Tuesday he is "cautiously optimistic" Oklahoma is flattening the curve with the current response to COVID-19.

Stitt said the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 or symptoms of the illness declined from 560 to 407 in the past week, but a surge in patients is still possible. So, people are encouraged to keep up social distancing, frequent hand washing and other measures.

"I know how badly many of us want to get our lives back to normal, but what we do together over the next three weeks will significantly impact what we can do after April 30," Stitt said.

A surge in cases is still possible, and cabinet officials were to brief Stitt on Tuesday afternoon about plans to handle that. Asked about accounts of people with COVID-19 symptoms still not being able to get tested, Stitt said people in need of a test should call 211.

State officials said Oklahoma has plenty of personal protective equipment on hand for health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuesday's briefing was held in a state warehouse holding PPE.

Gino Demarco, referred to by Stitt as the state’s PPE czar, said the state has spent millions of dollars building its supply, including roughly 900,000 face masks, 110,000 respirators and 120,000 gowns.

"In addition to that, we've got probably in every one of those categories between one and five times more of that on order that's coming in from just around the world, and on a day-by-day basis, you'll just see it build up and then go out as quickly as we can," Demarco said.

Stitt said he thinks the state’s current stock of 2,000 ventilators will be more than enough.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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