Governor Stitt

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Gov. Kevin Stitt has responded to a letter from a Congressional subcommittee requesting an explanation for why Oklahoma was declining to implement federal recommendations regarding the coronavirus.

In a Wednesday letter to Democratic Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Stitt wrote that Oklahoma's approach to the virus has been appropriate.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Several members of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s staff, along with five state lawmakers, have recovered from the coronavirus and have agreed to donate plasma to help other virus patients recover, Stitt’s office announced on Tuesday.

The governor’s office announced in a press release that three of his cabinet secretaries and a deputy secretary of state all had contracted the coronavirus, along with two state senators and three state House members.

Gov. Kevin Stitt's office

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Four Oklahoma tribes are asking a federal court to void gambling compacts between the state of Oklahoma and two other tribes — agreements that the Oklahoma State Supreme Court recently invalidated.

Kevin Stitt campaign photo

One day after Gov. Kevin Stitt made conflicting statements regarding a planned visit from White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, no further clarity has emerged from Oklahoma City.

President Donald Trump announced the visit by Birx -- to provide "aggressive, tailored and targeted guidance" on handling the coronavirus -- in a Wednesday press conference.

At a press conference on Thursday, Stitt alternated between saying his office had invited Birx and that they hadn't. The governor said he didn't know what site or sites Birx wanted to visit.

Governor's office

Oklahoma leaders are sending mixed messages on the state’s COVID-19 numbers.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has started saying the state is on a plateau for new cases. Interim State Health Commissioner Lance Frye did not describe it that way in a news conference Thursday.

"I think it’s too early to say whether it’s plateaued or not. There’s different things to look at. If you’re looking at hospitalizations, we seem pretty stable right now. If you’re looking at the number of cases, that’s, that’s — I think it’s a little too early for me to say that," Frye said.

Andrea Hanks / White House

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday obfuscated the circumstances surrounding next week’s visit from a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Oklahoma is among six states Dr. Deborah Birx will visit to provide "aggressive, tailored and targeted guidance" on handling the coronavirus.

Stitt described her stop differently at a news conference.

"She’s making some stops in Iowa and a few other states. And so, we’ve invited her to Oklahoma," Stitt said.

Office of the Governor

As Congress struggles to come up with a fourth coronavirus relief bill, Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday that Oklahoma is good.

"I don’t think we need another stimulus package, no. And so, we’ve told our federal delegation, we’ve told the White House that. We’re more concerned — we want to make sure this $1.2 billion actually gets on target," Stitt said during a news conference.

Twitter / @WhiteHouse

President Donald Trump announced that Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House's coronavirus task force, will visit Oklahoma next week on a tour of states "to deliver aggressive, tailored and targeted guidance."

The visit comes as Okla. Gov. Kevin Stitt is under scrutiny for declining to implement the task force's recommendations to combat the coronavirus.

Courtesy

Gov. Kevin Stitt continues to say Oklahoma is handling the coronavirus pandemic well and is months ahead of other states.

During the Tulsa Regional Chamber State of the State on Tuesday, Stitt compared the state’s hospitalization numbers from earlier in the pandemic to now.

“You know, on March 30, we had 560 people in the hospital being treated for COVID across the state of Oklahoma. Yesterday, we had 504 people in the hospital with capacity well above that,” Stitt said.

Governor's office

Oklahoma will spend $15 million from its share of federal coronavirus relief funding toward establishing Community HOPE Centers across the state to help families in areas where schools are not open full time.

Gov. Kevin Stitt made the announcement Monday at Templo de Alabanza in Oklahoma City, which will be the site of the first Community HOPE Center.

Templo de Alabanza Operations Director Rachel Ramirez said as soon as she heard local schools wouldn’t bring students back until at least November, she knew something needed to be done.

Twitter / @realdonaldtrump

Officials in Tulsa said Thursday that a direct causal connection cannot be drawn between the coronavirus infection of former presidential candidate Herman Cain and his attendance at President Trump's rally last month at the BOK Center.

"I don't know how he caught it," Mayor G.T. Bynum said of Cain, who, like the majority of the 6,000-person crowd at the rally, did not wear a mask in the arena. "I haven't seen any conclusive information on where he got it from."

Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department and a personal friend of Cain, agreed.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

Despite recommendations from the Trump administration that the state of Oklahoma implement far stricter restrictions to combat the coronavirus, a spokesperson for Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday that they're just that -- recommendations.

"The Governor’s office followed up after the Task Force’s latest report and the White House confirmed that these are not mandates and that the State is not out of compliance with any federal orders," said Baylee Lakey, the governor's communications director, in an emailed statement.

Pixabay

Administration may be the big fight over Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma.

Lawmakers leading the discussion are confident they can use a plan vetoed by Gov. Kevin Stitt as a funding fallback. It used an increased assessment on hospital revenue to come up with around $130 million, most if not all of Oklahoma’s share of around $1 billion in expansion costs.

Oklahoma will spend $10 million from its federal coronavirus funds to buy personal protective equipment for distribution to schools.

That includes enough masks for every student and teacher to have two, as well as face shields, gloves and gowns for school personnel. The equipment will be sent to regional warehouses for distribution with a goal of delivering it by Aug. 14.

Rep. Sherrie Conley (R-Newcastle), a 26-year educator, said students belong back in schools, and not just because in-person instruction is superior.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is downplaying a letter from a U.S. House committee overseeing the nation’s coronavirus response that accuses him of worsening the state’s outbreak by not following private White House recommendations offered this week.

"I think it’s a subcommittee inside Congress that really is just trying to make a political statement either against the president or our state. I don’t know exactly where it’s coming from," Stitt said Thursday.

The Oklahoman

A U.S. House special committee wants to know why Oklahoma is not following recommendations on the coronavirus made privately by the White House.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Oklahoma’s tribal gaming compacts automatically renewed on Jan. 1, handing a victory to the tribes who sued Gov. Kevin Stitt to renew them.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy DeGiusti rejected Stitt’s argument that the compacts — which define how much of their gambling revenue the tribes must pay to the state and which games are allowed — had expired.

Stitt expressed disappointment at the ruling.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday that he's returned to working in-person at the Capitol after being medically cleared following his infection with COVID-19, the first known case in an American governor.

"I am glad to be back in the office today," Stitt said in a video announcement.

Stitt said every single person he was in contact with "continues to test negative." (It wasn't clear what timeline he was referring to regarding that contact.)

Twitter / @GovStitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The head of coronavirus response at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center said Friday that an increase in the number of younger Oklahoma residents dying as a result of the virus has become a worry. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s chief of staff is planning to step down at the end of the month to pursue opportunities closer to his family in Tulsa, the governor announced Thursday.

Chief of Staff Michael Junk’s last day on the job will be July 31.

Electric car maker Tesla Inc. has picked the Austin, Texas, area as the site for its largest auto assembly plant employing at least 5,000 workers.

The new factory will build Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck pickup and will be a second U.S. manufacturing site for the Model Y small SUV, largely for distribution to the East Coast.

Baishampayan Ghose

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt overstepped his authority when he reached a casino gambling agreement with two Native American tribes, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In a 7–1 decision, the high court determined the compacts Stitt signed with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes are “invalid under Oklahoma law.”

KWGS News file photo

The State of Oklahoma has expanded the number of hospitals in its COVID-19 surge plan, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday, adding an estimated 340 beds.

Mercy Hospital and Norman Regional Health System are now offering beds at sites in addition to OSU Medical Center in Tulsa, OU Medical Center and other hospitals.

Facebook / Crossover Preparatory Academy

Democratic lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are pushing back against Gov. Kevin Stitt's announcement that he will award $10 million of federal coronavirus education funding to private schools.

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."

Center for Public Integrity

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.

Facebook / Mayor G.T. Bynum

Update 9:20 a.m.: This story, photo, and headline have been updated to reflect that the ordinance has been signed by the mayor and is now in effect.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has signed an ordinance that requires adults to wear face coverings in many public settings, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 among a skyrocketing number of cases and hospitalizations.

Updated July 15, 2:55 p.m. with information about Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday morning he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Stitt appears to be the first governor in the U.S. to contract COVID-19. He is tested regularly and said he received his positive result on a test administered Tuesday, after he participated in a meeting of the Commissioners of the Land Office that involved Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Agriculture Secretary Blayne Arthur and other officials.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Mayor G.T.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Despite rising numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 infections in Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday he remains opposed to mandating that residents wear masks.

“I’m going to protect the freedoms in Oklahoma,” said Stitt, who rarely wears a mask in public, even when he’s around groups of people. “I’m not comfortable with mandating masks. It’s not something that I would do.”

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