Today Oklahoma Senate Democrats sent the following letter to Governor Kevin Stitt calling for stronger action to combat COVID-19:
October 13, 2020
The Honorable J. Kevin Stitt
Governor of Oklahoma
Oklahoma State Capitol
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Dear Governor Stitt,
I write to you on behalf of the Oklahoma Senate Democrats to once again urge you to take stronger action to combat COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 1,119 Oklahomans have died from COVID-19 and a record high 760 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized for treatment. Today the Emergency Medical Services Authority informed the Oklahoma City Council there are currently no additional staffed ICU beds available in Oklahoma City.
The October 4th White House Coronavirus Task Force report has ranked Oklahoma as the tenth highest positive test rate of any state in the country and concludes “Community transmission has remained high across the state for the past month, with many preventable deaths.” Oklahoma faces a serious public health emergency in the fight to contain COVID-19. The Oklahoma Senate Democrats urge you to implement the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s recommendations.
Senate Democrats also urge you to provide school districts with resources to prevent COVID-19 transmission in our schools. Many school districts lack the funding needed to fully implement COVID-19 safety protocols, including air filtration systems, plexiglass dividers, and thorough sanitation.
COVID-19 is also having a disproportionate impact on minority and underserved communities. Senate Democrats believe Oklahoma’s COVID-19 response should incorporate health equity to ensure all Oklahomans have access to affordable health care during the pandemic and going forward.
Finally, Senate Democrats urge you and the State Department of Health to fully engage with the medical community and rely on their expertise and input. Responding to the increase in hospitalizations, Dr. George Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, stated “As hospitalizations increase, it is imperative our state leaders give our hospitals the resources, including staffing, needed to meet this increase.”
The State Department of Health Advisory Board, which includes medical experts, has not met since January. A comprehensive public health based approach is imperative if we are to turn the tide against COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
Kay Floyd, Democratic Leader
Senate District, 46