Governor Stitt

Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. is urging citizens to follow federal recommendations and avoid gathering for Thanksgiving amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

"Our ICU beds at Hastings Hospital are staying full as we see and help more of our citizens hospitalized by this virus," Hoskin said. "The best thing we can do is stay in this holiday, and if you're around other people, wearing a mask is critical."

Hoskin said the tribe's public health team is seeing positive test rates three times higher than in recent weeks. 

Twitter / @GovStitt

Despite clear guidance from the CDC and a top White House coronavirus official against such behavior due to the devastating surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday he plans to attend a college football game and celebrate Thanksgiving with members of his family outside his immediate household.

"I'm going to be with my family over Thanksgiving. I'm going to do it safely. I'm going to be with my parents. I think Oklahomans should be with their loved ones over Thanksgiving," Stitt said at a press briefing at the state Capitol. 

Twitter / Gov. Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of hospitalizations in Oklahoma due to the coronavirus surpassed 1,400 on Wednesday for a new daily record, and a surge in cases is linked to Halloween events, according to a report by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The state did not restrict trick-or-treating on Halloween and has not limited social gatherings.

ABC World News Tonight

Oklahoma continues to attract attention from national news networks due to the severity of its COVID-19 pandemic.

ABC News' World News Tonight and Good Morning America were in Lawton Tuesday, reporting from the COVID-19 ward at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, where Chief Medical Officer Dr. Scott Michener said they were operating at over 100% ICU capacity.

Ben Felder, investigative reporter at nonprofit news organization The Frontier, spoke with Public Radio Tulsa about his recent reporting on Gov.

Facebook / Gov. Kevin Stitt

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday joined the growing list of prominent Republicans who are publicly acknowledging President Trump's election defeat.

Asked at a press conference whether he would take a hypothetical phone call from President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 task force during the transition, Stitt suggested he would deal only with outgoing President Trump for the moment.

"Well, I'm going to talk to whoever's president at the time. So now until Jan. 20 we'll talk to President Trump, and then, you know, we'll talk to President-elect Biden on Jan. 20," Stitt said.

Gov. Kevin Stitt ordered on Monday new but limited statewide COVID-19 restrictions.

Starting Tuesday, state employees must wear masks in common areas of their buildings. All visitors at state buildings must wear masks as well.

And starting Thursday, bars and restaurants must either keep tables 6 feet apart or install appropriate dividers between them, and they must close at 11 p.m.

Oklahoma Restaurant Association President Jim Hopper said the industry is on board.

Facebook / OU Health

Oklahoma nursing organizations are calling on Gov. Kevin Stitt to take action to help with "moral distress and exhaustion" among their ranks as COVID-19 numbers continue their staggering climb.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Friday requested a federal major disaster declaration from last month’s ice storm that caused an estimated $27 million in damages in 13 central Oklahoma counties.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Democrats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are expressing displeasure with the way Republican majority leadership has handled two members testing positive for COVID-19 shortly after a Wednesday swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol.

Rep. Monroe Nichols (D-Tulsa) said he learned about Reps. Tammy Townley (R-Ardmore) and Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston) testing positive on Twitter. 

"When I saw the tweet, I was incredibly frustrated that I found out that way," Nichols said. "Whether I'm surprised or not that it happened, we all should know."

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum took his frustration with Gov. Kevin Stitt's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic to national television Thursday, saying the state isn't providing Tulsa with the help it needs to effectively handle the coronavirus.

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Contact tracing efforts are underway following news that two Oklahoma state representatives tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after lawmakers convened at the state capitol Wednesday for a swearing-in ceremony.

Representatives Tammy Townley (R-Ardmore) and Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston) confirmed in statements they have been infected with the novel coronavirus.

Twitter / Gov. Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The White House Coronavirus Task Force is again recommending a mask mandate in Oklahoma amid a surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the state.

Facebook / Representative Emily Virgin

Democrats in the Oklahoma state legislature advocated Tuesday for a convening of a special session to extend emergency rules allowing for virtual open meetings to be held more easily, and renewed their calls for a statewide mask mandate order from Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Courtesy Yen For Governor campaign

Dr. Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City anaesthesiologist and former Republican state senator, spoke with KWGS about why Gov. Kevin Stitt's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was the primary motivator for launching a primary challenge.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum issued a late-night statement Monday following reports from the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) that the city's hospitals had zero ICU beds available and a report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health showing a record-breaking number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized across Oklahoma.

Youtube / Gov. Kevin Stitt

Following a new daily COVID-19 case count on Saturday that more than doubled the previous record, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that it would be skipping its daily update for Sunday "to catch up and ensure duplications are removed."

The new statewide infection total released Saturday, 4,741 Oklahomans confirmed to have contracted the disease, eclipsed the previous record of 2,101 set Thursday. On Sunday, the state said it had removed duplicates and adjusted the number; the revised total was reduced slightly, to 4,507.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Dr. Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City anesthesiologist and former Republican state senator, plans to challenge Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt in the 2022 governor’s race, saying he’s disappointed with the governor’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter / @VP

The Trump administration says Oklahomans must "act now" to get a handle on the coronavirus as hospitalizations hit their highest level ever and the state's COVID-19 death rate reaches the federal "red zone."

KWGS News file photo

Oklahoma is in the red zone for new COVID-19 cases, positive test rate, and deaths per capita, according to the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report.

Hospitals statewide are under record strain. The number of patients surpassed 1,000 for the first time ever Tuesday night, according to the state health department.

In an interview on KRMG radio this week, Gov. Kevin Stitt said the hospital system is in solid shape.

"There’s a lot of folks that are fear mongering and telling Oklahomans we don’t have the hospital capacity. Simply not true," Stitt said.

Abbott

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Federal officials plan to send Oklahoma nearly 1.2 million rapid coronavirus tests that can diagnose the infection in as few as 15 minutes, the White House announced on Monday.

PickPik

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday he will not appeal a federal court ruling that the state’s tribal gaming compacts had automatically renewed on Jan. 1.

Stitt had argued the compacts — which define how much of their gambling revenue the tribes must pay to the state and which games are allowed — had expired. But U.S. District Court Judge Timothy DeGiusti in July ruled against Stitt.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State health officials reported 1,051 new cases Sunday of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a day after a one-day record increase was set and two days after Gov. Kevin Stitt extended a state of emergency because of the pandemic.

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission

Starting Sunday, Oklahoma will again require people filing new unemployment claims wait one week before receiving benefits and prove they are actively searching for work.

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt said that's because Gov. Kevin Stitt's emergency order waiving those provisions expires, but with the state's unemployment rate down to 5.3% in September, the time seems right to again require those.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A task force appointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt made no specific recommendations Thursday in its report concerning the impact of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared a swath of eastern Oklahoma counties remains an Indian reservation.

The report calls for consistent laws and regulations in the state governing taxation, zoning and business regulations, which Stitt said will be up to Congress to provide.

White House coronavirus task force

The Trump administration is calling on Gov. Kevin Stitt to increase efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma as the state's pandemic numbers grow worse.

Got Mask? Oklahoma / Healthier Oklahoma Coalition

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association is renewing the group’s call for a statewide mask mandate as the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus has reached record levels.

Youtube / Oklahoma State Department of Health

Republican and Democratic state lawmakers are both expressing concern over Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt's announcement last week that the state's public health lab will be moved from Oklahoma City to Stillwater, using a combination of state funds and federal coronavirus relief funding.

In a Monday press release, Rep. Ryan Martinez (R-Edmond) said he would be filing legislation to keep the lab in the state capital and "question[ed] if this is the best use of CARES Act funds."

Reached by phone Wednesday, Martinez said he first heard about the plan on the news.

White House coronavirus task force

One week after the release of a White House coronavirus task force report stating that many of Oklahoma's recent COVID-19 deaths were preventable, which provoked a response from a spokesperson for Gov. Kevin Stitt disputing that as an "editorial opinion," a new report recommends the state ramp up its coronavirus response or risk further deaths.

Oklahoma Senate

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday the appointment of former Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman as Oklahoma’s new secretary of state and Native American affairs.

Bingman, who also is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, joined the Stitt administration in August as the governor’s new chief policy advisor and is expected to work as a liaison between the Legislature and governor’s office. He replaces former Secretary of State Michael Rogers, who resigned from the post earlier this month.

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