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Stitt Continues Defending Reopening Plan, Says Zero Cases 'Just Not Practical'

The Oklahoman

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday continued to defend his decision to begin lifting restrictions meant to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Stitt said hospitalizations in Oklahoma peaked almost a month ago and the health care system now has plenty of capacity. Stitt said he started issuing executive orders on COVID-19 March 12 with three goals in mind.

"Number one was to build capacity in our health care system to make sure that we did not overrun that. It was also to start building supply in PPE, and it was to flatten the curve," Stitt said. "It was never to have zero cases in our state. That’s just not practical."

Personal care businesses like salons and pet groomers in some cities could reopen last Friday, and restaurant dining rooms and movie theaters statewide can reopen this Friday. Stitt said while testing has increased, the rate of positive tests has declined to 6.1%.

"So, in other words, for every 1,000 people that take a test, 61 are coming back positive. That means 939 are coming back negative," Stitt said.

Stitt says he will scale back reopening if data warrants it. His Open Up and Recover Safely Plan calls for bars to partially reopen May 15 and workplaces to return to unrestricted staffing June 1.

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