Published 04/17/2020 | Reading Time 5 min 40 sec
TULSA, Okla. — On Friday, April 17, Save Our State, Oklahoma, has sent a letter to Governor Stitt with more than 2000 signatures from urging immediate expansion and extension of his executive orders to protect the lives of every Oklahoman as the state nears its projected peak in the coronavirus crisis.
As of Thursday, COVID-19 had claimed the lives of 131 Oklahomans and infected more than 2300 others. These numbers are already frightening and continue to grow day after day. In response, more than 2000 Oklahomans from 200 cities and towns have signed onto a letter in just a few days calling on Governor Stitt to make the following commitments and policy changes immediately:
Follow the lead of 42 other governors and numerous mayors by amending your “safer at home” policy to include all Oklahomans across the state
Honor your commitment to transparency and communication and protect public safety by clarifying the definition of essential businesses and laying out clear requirements for businesses that remain open during this crisis
Adhere to your promise to be ‘data-driven’ by extending the executive order until at least May 18th (after Oklahoma’s projected peak) and making a commitment to reassess before lifting the order.
Work with your legislative colleagues to leverage the state’s rainy day fund to ensure that cuts to essential services are not made in the middle of a statewide emergency.
Today, it is expected that the Governor will announce efforts to relax social distancing measures in the state of Oklahoma by allowing non-essential businesses to reopen after April 30th. The IMHE model the Governor cited during his press conference shows that the state will hit its peak of hospitalizations and deaths between April 26th and May 6th. No other city, state or nation has pulled back on social distancing efforts in the middle of their projected peak, for very clear reasons. To rescind his executive orders in the middle of the peak of this wave of the COVID crisis in our state would prove disastrous.
That same model currently shows a projected death toll in the state of more than 900 by the end of May. Simply put, we can and must do more to save lives before our peak date hits.
While the governor continues to resist expanding his safer-at-home policy to include all Oklahomans, recent reporting confirmed that the state medical examiner’s office saw an increase in deaths from 20 to 40-year-old patients in the past months passed from COVID-19 like symptoms, but were never tested. This reality flies in the face of the governor’s repeated insinuation that only certain populations are at risk of serious illness or death as a result of this virus. This is why transparency in data is so critical and this report makes clear that there is a need for a demographic and age breakdown for positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths from the state department of health.
We recognize the significant economic strain that this unparalleled crisis places on individuals across the state of Oklahoma. In times of crisis, however, Oklahomans have always banded together to lift one another up; and we will do that again now.
We can recover jobs and re-strengthen our economy. We cannot recover lives.
The 53,000 members of the Save Our State group will continue our efforts to support one another, lift each other up and push our governor to make decisions that will save the lives of Oklahomans. The letter is still open to gather signatures (tinyurl.com/stittletter) and the group will host another virtual rally with additional steps to take action tonight at 8:30 on our Facebook page. We will also do a live broadcast immediately prior to and after the Governor’s press conference on the same Facebook page.
Lives are at stake.
We are out of time.
The governor must act now.
Save Our State is a non-partisan, non-political group with over 53,000 members. SOS was established for Oklahomans to come together to collectively fight COVID-19. SOS focuses on calling elected Oklahoma leaders urging them to do what is best for the state. SOS believes Governor Kevin Stitt must issue a “Shelter-in-place” order similar to Ohio, Louisiana and New York in order to save thousands of lives. SOS believes that if Oklahoma fails to act, the consequences for citizens and healthcare workers, first responders and the state’s most vulnerable will be devastating.