Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has declared a state of emergency for all 77 Oklahoma counties due to coronavirus concerns.
Gov. Stitt said "it is now necessary to provide for the rendering of mutual assistance among the State and political subdivisions of the State and to cooperate with the Federal government with respect to carrying out emergency functions during the continuance of the State emergency pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Emergency Management Act of 2003."
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The declaration allows the governor to redirect resources through the Department of Emergency Management.
According to the declaration, state agencies will be allowed to make emergency purchases up to 250-thousand dollars and hire more staff.
In his video Stitt also says the declaration will allow hospitals to go around state regulation, although which regulations he's talking about wasn’t clear.
This declaration was a very different tone from the Governor who just a few days ago told Oklahoma schools to stay open and was widely criticized for taking a picture with his two sons at an Oklahoma City food hall, despite public health warnings about gathering in crowded places. Sunday night, he acknowledged things will now change.
“Life as we know it will change for a little while but it doesn't have to shut down completely. Continue to find ways to support your local businesses,” Stitt said. “Pay attention to how you're feeling and make wise choices based on your risk.”
Stitt also said private testing labs are now up and running and the health department is working on more ways for Oklahomans to be screened after initial confusion last week.
Stitt also mentioned an eighth Oklahoma case of a positive COVID-19 test in the declaration, which was later confirmed by the Oklahoma State Health Department.
According to a Stitt press release, the eighth COVID-19 test was confirmed "in a private lab" test Sunday.
OSDH acknowledged an eighth in-state COVID-19 test on its website. The eighth positive test took place in Kay County.
Stitt's declaration comes approximately an hour after Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt declared a state of emergency for OKC.