Listen to this article here

A surgical mask sits painted on the Golden Driller at Expo Square in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

Reading Time 1 min 42 sec 

According to the Harvard Global Institute of Health’s ‘The Path to Zeroeffort, all of Oklahoma is designated as “having accelerated spread” of COVID-19, with several counties (including Tulsa and Oklahoma counties) being rated as having reached a “tipping point.”

According to these internationally-renown health experts, Oklahoma must take immediate action, much like the steps that Save Our State Oklahoma (SOS Oklahoma) has been calling on the governor to take for the past three months, in order to avoid hospital overrun and another catastrophic economic shutdown.

Based upon the data and everything that Oklahomans are hearing on the ground from community members, healthcare professionals and public officials, it is clear that the state’s healthcare system is on the brink of being overwhelmed within the next few weeks.

Currently, Oklahoma does not have the infrastructure it needs to effectively test and contact trace at the levels necessary to manage the rapid and out of control spread of the virus, as is indicated by the state’s rising positive test ratio and the delays in test results reporting, which have become increasingly widespread. 

Once again, SOS Oklahoma is calling on Governor Stitt, city mayors and elected officials across the state to hear the calls of Oklahomans for immediate action to manage this crisis and save lives and livelihoods.

Co-funded Nate Morris says, “We are asking for the following statewide actions to be taken immediately. Failure to do so will undoubtedly force our state into another full shutdown, causing significant damage to our already fragile economy:

  1. A statewide mask mandate

  2. Limiting indoor capacity limits in all places of business to 25% normal operating capacity and incentivizing outdoor dining, curbside pickup at all restaurants.

  3. Work with local leaders to allow schools across the state to hold class virtually for at least the first nine weeks of the school year – allocate CARES Act funding to support students in public schools with receiving access to critical internet and technology resources.

  4. Heavily allocate resources for effective testing and tracing

  5. Create a clear, public-facing, proactive, state-wide plan with clear data-driven measure to determine future imposing/lifting restrictions based upon COVID-19 levels

  6. Enhance local power so that local leaders can act independently of statewide orders as needed to protect their communities.” 

Experts are already recommending that Oklahoma move back to a “stay at home” order. The months-long calls for proactive policy implementation from SOS Oklahoma have been aimed at avoiding that scenario. Further delay will almost certainly require drastic, job-killing measures in order to save lives. The group hopes Gov. Stitt will act swiftly.  

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...