White House Task Force: Situation Worsening, But Statewide Mask Mandate Now Unnecessary

Sep 10, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The White House task force on the coronavirus is no longer recommending a statewide mask mandate in Oklahoma, according to the report released Wednesday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The report, dated Sunday, instead recommends a mask mandate in urban areas and in counties where students and teachers in public schools have tested positive for the virus. 

The White House task force had recommended a statewide mask mandate in each weekly report since early August.

The report said there were 146 new virus cases per 100,000 population in the last week, compared to a national average of 88 per 100,000.

“Oklahoma is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the 9th highest rate in the country,” and has the fourth highest percentages of positive tests at more than 10%, according to the report

Gov. Kevin Stitt has said he he will not issue a statewide mandate and the state Board of Education declined to require masks in schools as was proposed by state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

The White House task force had recommended a statewide mask mandate in each weekly report since early August.