white house

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.

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.

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.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington

Oklahoma has already begun reopening following a plan by Governor Kevin Stitt, but a team of health researchers estimate that the state is still over 50 days away from the earliest date when it would be safe to ease restrictions intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The White House has told governors their leadership is critical in testing for coronavirus and provided a map showing that Oklahoma is one of four states with the lowest testing capacity in the United States.