As of Monday morning, a State of Emergency and COVID-19 advisory is in effect for Muskogee County.
County commissioners say something needed to be done because COVID-19 numbers are soaring with limited resources. Muskogee County citizens have not been required, but rather encouraged to mask up for months.
In Monday's meeting, commissioners issued a county-wide State of Emergency and a COVID-19 advisory.
"We need to bring to the attention to the public 'hey we really are in crisis right now' we have rampant spread, we have hospitalizations going up, we are already red-lining on the availability of beds," Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke explained, "and because of that we really need for the community to step up."
Muskogee County emergency management director Jeff Smith says this is a step in the right direction.
"With the lack of hospital bed availability, some of our patients are having to be transported to Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. It really puts a strain on us," Smith explained.
With the new emergency order, Smith says it will be easier to apply for things like grants to pay for new ambulances, and says the county needs about 5 or 6 to be comfortable.
Muskogee commissioners also issued a COVID-19 advisory on top of the state of emergency that requires citizens to wear masks in all county buildings. The county does not have authority to issue any type of mandate and there are no fines but commissioners say masks inside county buildings will be enforced.
Doke says the holidays and peak flu season are coming up so they want to be prepared.
"We need the public to understand the gravity of the situation. Half of my road crews out right now with Covid-19, or they're either in quarantine because they came in contact with someone with Covid. So we're just sort of positioning ourselves to be able to respond with county resources in a way that we normally couldn't if we didn't have an emergency declaration in place," Doke added.
Muskogee city council is set to vote on a city-wide mask mandate for a 6th time Monday night starting at 5:30 p.m.