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Mayor, Health Department Say They've Heard Nothing From Governor Or Feds On New WH Recommendations

Center for Public Integrity
An excerpt from a document prepared for the White House coronavirus task force recommending Oklahoma adopt stricter anti-COVID measures.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and a spokesperson for Tulsa Health Director Dr. Bruce Dart said neither of them had received communications from Gov. Kevin Stitt or the federal government regarding a recently uncovered White House document dated July 14th recommending that the Tulsa metropolitan area take stricter steps to combat the coronavirus.

The document prepared for the White House coronavirus task force was obtained and published by the Center for Public Integrity. It lists Oklahoma as one of 18 states in a designated "red-zone," and recommends both state and local governments take stricter measures, such as the closure of bars and gyms, mandated mask wearing, and limit gatherings to no more than 10 individuals.

The White House document recommends that Tulsa, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, and Ottawa Counties shut down all bars and gyms, ban gatherings of more than 10 people, ensure that all businesses mandate masks be worn, and provide isolation facilities to be used by individuals who need to quarantine away from their households.

Bynum told Public Radio Tulsa on Friday that he was surprised to hear about the document on Thursday evening.

"I've not heard anything about it from the federal government or the state government," Bynum said. "I saw it online last night and I sent it to Dr. Dart this morning just to ask him if he had received anything about it -- he has not yet, either."

"His, at least, initial feel from reading the document was that it looked like something that would be a recommendation from the federal government to the state," Bynum said. "But again we haven't seen anything on it one way or the other." 

A spokesperson for the Tulsa Health Department said Dart was still looking through the document, but confirmed that he also had not been contacted by the Stitt or Trump administrations.

Dart agrees with the recommendation from the document that the governor implement a statewide mandate, the spokesperson said.

In response to a request for comment about the White House document, a spokesperson for Stitt sent back a statement that did not address or acknowledge the document or its recommendations.

In a statement posted to social media Friday, a Stitt spokesperson said the governor, who announced Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, was feeling "100%."

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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