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On Fox, Stitt Continues To Paint Rosy Picture Of Pandemic In Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (right) appearing on Fox News on Saturday, July 18th.

Appearing on Fox News days after becoming the first governor in the country known to have tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Kevin Stitt said that catching the virus himself hasn't impacted his response to the pandemic in Oklahoma.

"You know, I don't think so," Stitt told Fox host Leland Vittert on Saturday. "From the very beginning I've told Oklahomans the reason we've issued 30 executive orders was really to flatten the curve and build hospital capacity, make sure we had PPE for our health care workers. And Oklahomans have done that."

Both claims have been questioned by public health experts and seem to not be supported by data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The state's curve, or infection rate, has risen dramatically over recent weeks, and the percentage of tests coming back positive has also increased of late.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association has also disputed Stitt's repeated claim that Oklahoma has 5,000 COVID beds available.

"In fact, we only have 5,660 med/surg beds, 958 ICU beds, and 1,993 specialty beds (psych/rehab) total. A majority of those beds are already filled," the association's president, Dr. George Monks, tweeted. 

Dr. Jabraan Pasha of OU Physicians - Tulsa told Public Radio Tulsa that local hospitals are already feeling a strain from staffing shortages. 

Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, has said that local hospital leaders have expressed concern over capacity.

On Fox, Stitt claimed that the state has hit a "plateau" in terms of new cases. In fact, the seven-day average of new daily cases has consistently risen for weeks until Sunday, when it dropped only slightly.

"We're taking this very seriously as a state, but we're also not living in fear," Stitt said.

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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