Governor Stitt

State officials held a ribbon cutting Thursday at the Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence in Stillwater.

The center was announced in October, and its more rural location was always the plan. State Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur said human and animal health are closely related because of diseases that jump from animals to humans or that affect food supplies.

American Academy of Pediatrics Oklahoma Chapter

Public health experts and physicians' groups said Thursday that Gov. Kevin Stitt is misrepresenting research to justify his push for all school districts in Oklahoma to offer in-person learning despite the state's severe and dire COVID-19 situation.

Pixnio

Insisting on in-person options statewide, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a new policy Tuesday aimed at reducing school quarantines for COVID-19.

"Students and teachers exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 in school will no longer be required to quarantine as long as the exposure happened in a classroom setting [and] everyone was wearing masks and following other appropriate protocols, like social distancing," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye.

Twitter

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A new member of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s communications staff faced fierce criticism Tuesday for a tweet last week in which she praised a national Republican group for putting “House Democrats in body bags.”

Youtube / Gov. Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Bars and restaurants across Oklahoma will be able to stay open past Gov. Kevin Stitt’s ordered 11 p.m. curfew while a lawsuit brought by a group of bar owners is litigated.

White House coronavirus task force

Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, or OSDH, will no longer make publicly available weekly reports for the state prepared by the White House coronavirus task force.

The Center for Public Integrity reported on Dec. 17 that the reports, previously automatically sent each week to all 50 states, are now available only by request.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended postponing holiday travel to avoid catching COVID-19, and that advice stands.

The same day the CDC made that announcement in mid-November, the state of Oklahoma launched a new tourism ad campaign featuring Gov. Kevin Stitt in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, and on digital platforms.

Youtube / Gov. Kevin Stitt

UPDATE at 5:15 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 18: A judge granted plaintiffs a temporary restraining order in this case. This story has been updated to include that development and reaction from the governor and the ABLE Commission.

A group of bar owners filed a lawsuit against Gov. Kevin Stitt Thursday, saying his executive order that in-person service stop at 11:00 p.m. each night in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 is onerous, unlawful and outside the bounds of his authority.

A member of Governor Kevin Stitt’s cabinet has been indicted by Oklahoma’s multicounty grand jury.

Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe faces a felony charge of attempted bribery of an official after allegedly telling state tax commissioners to waive a company’s penalties and interest on a tax debt or appropriations to their agency would be withheld.

The governor’s office said it takes the allegations seriously but is still getting information about the situation.

Wikipedia

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced on Thursday pre-K through 12th grade teachers and support staff are now in phase two of the state’s COVID vaccination plan.

They were previously in phase three of four. The move is aimed at a specific goal. 

"Parents and students, I hear you. I am fighting for you. Let me be very clear: I want every Oklahoma school child to have an in-person option in January, period," Stitt said.

Gov. Kevin Stitt will announce on Thursday new measures aimed at getting kids back in school.

Stitt said they were coming at a news conference announcing the COVID-19 vaccine’s arrival in southwest Oklahoma Wednesday afternoon.

Screenshot / KOCO 5 News

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s seven presidential electors officially awarded the state’s electoral votes to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday during a meeting at the state Capitol.

The seven Republican electors, all GOP activists in Oklahoma, signed certificates awarding the votes to Trump, who won Oklahoma with more than 65% of the vote.

The results will be sent to Washington and tallied in a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress over which Pence will preside. Electors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were meeting Monday.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday afternoon he will implement two new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Stitt said he will file an executive order limiting attendance at indoor youth sporting events to four spectators per athlete or 50% building capacity, whichever is less. Public gatherings will also be limited to 50% capacity unless the local health department signs off on more people attending.

The top state lawmakers from both parties sat down for a public affairs panel with the Oklahoma State Chamber this week, and all of them pushed back on President and CEO Chad Warmington’s opening to a question about the legislature’s working relationship with Gov. Kevin Stitt.

"Some have analogized that the governor is CEO and the legislature is his board of directors. Kind of curious if you all see the relationship that way," Warmington said.

Twitter / @mikepence

The White House coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence continues to issue dire warnings and recommendations to Gov. Kevin Stitt regarding the worsening COVID-19 situation in the state. 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Choctaw Nation agreed to a one-year extension of a hunting and fishing compact that was set to expire at the end of the year, Stitt’s office announced on Tuesday.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday rescinded his appointment to the State Board of Education of an Enid woman who led an anti-mask crusade in the northwest Oklahoma City.

Stitt said in a statement he rescinded the appointment of Melissa Crabtree at her request.

“I was extremely disappointed to see how many were so quick to judge her without taking the time to personally speak to her,” Stitt said.

Twitter / @jsdelpilar

The office of Gov. Kevin Stitt is keeping silent following reports the governor flew out of Will Rogers Airport on Wednesday.

FOX23 reporter Jackie DelPilar tweeted photos Thursday purported to show Stitt not fully wearing a mask while flying to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. 

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Kevin Stitt quietly removed and replaced State Board of Education member Kurt Bollenbach of Kingfisher and replaced him with an anti-mask activist from Enid this week.

Melissa Crabtree has been an outspoken critic of masking in Enid. Bollenbach was one of three board members to vote in favor of a mask mandate in Oklahoma schools.

Stitt – who has repeatedly said he won’t implement a statewide mask mandate – has said when making political appointments to various boards he hopes people will do what he wants.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

Members of an evangelical doctors' group are urging congregations to exercise caution and gather virtually, if possible, if they wish to assemble Thursday for Gov. Kevin Stitt's day of prayer and fasting for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Office of Vice President Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence's White House coronavirus task force weekly report for Oklahoma does not contain much good news, noting that the state now ranks fourth-worst in the nation for its rate of COVID test positivity and 19th for most new cases per 100,000 residents, both red zone values.

Courtesy Oklahoma Blood Institute

The Oklahoma Blood Institute is calling on Oklahomans who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma, which can be used in the treatment of those battling the disease in hospitals.

"Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) began collecting convalescent plasma in early April, as soon as it showed promise in treating patients suffering from severe symptoms of COVID-19," the institute said in a release. "OBI is now distributing more than a thousand units per week to community hospitals.

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.

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