State Debuts New COVID-19 Alert System; Stitt Not Issuing Mask Mandate

Thursday, July 9th 2020, 9:53 pm


Oklahoma's new COVID-19 Alert System is now live online. The announcement was made in a press conference Thursday afternoon with Governor Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Lance Frye, M.D. and Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Interim Director Shelley Zumwalt.

During the press conference, Stitt reiterated a statewide mask mandate is not happening.

Stitt also said Oklahomans are doing great in the fight against COVID-19. He said the same goes for the current unemployment situation.

“We are now 77 days into our reopening phase,” said Stitt.

In that the time, the governor said Oklahoma is 43rd in the country for the lowest amount of COVID cases.

He continued to encourage face masks and social distancing.

“While our cases and hospitalizations have been increasing the past few weeks, were watching this information closely and carefully,” said Stitt. “We are managing our capacity. We still have the capacity of 5,000 COVID beds.”

Thursday, Stitt and health officials debuted a new COVID-19 Alert System detailing the risk by county.

“The intent of this alert system is to protect health and lives while enabling social and economic activity to resume in the different phases in the pandemic,” said Lance Frye M.D., Oklahoma Commissioner of Health.

Green is considered a "new normal" less than two new COVID cases per 100,000.

Red, or "high risk phase," is more than 14 new cases per 100,000. No county, as of now, is red.

Also Thursday, an update on state unemployment claims was given, which according to officials is heading in a positive direction.

Specials events held have sped things up while the state cracks down on fraud changing direct deposit requirements.

“These two changes have already identified an excess of 85,000 potential fraudulent transactions,” said Zumwalt. “The funds associated with those transitions are being redirected to legitimate claims to better serve the residents of Oklahoma.”

As far as another shutdown, Governor Stitt said that won't happen unless multiple counties turn red on the new COVID Alert System.