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In less than 72 hours, over 1700 Oklahomans from 130 cities and towns across the state have added their name to a letter calling on Governor Kevin Stitt to immediately declare a State of Emergency as the COVID-19 Delta variant surges.
The letter and signatures, organized by the health advocacy coalition Save Our State Oklahoma, was delivered to Governor Stitt and Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell Monday morning.
Letter to Oklahoma leaders asks for state of emergency declaration
“We are once again reaching out to both of you as concerned citizens of the state of Oklahoma, entreating you to immediately declare a state of emergency as cases of COVID-19 rise once more,” the letter began.
Now that the Governor has returned from an overseas trip in Azerbaijan, Save Our State Oklahoma and scores of residents are hoping he will act swiftly to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Oklahomans.
“Hospitals are reporting a critical lack of infrastructure and resources to support pediatric and adult patients alike, and the state ranks in the bottom ten for the percentage of our population fully vaccinated,” the letter continued. “As the state prepares to welcome students back in person in a few short weeks, we are urging this administration to provide the leeway necessary to help localities make decisions that are best for them in order to protect the communities they serve. Unfortunately, such a declaration is now required as a result of legislation signed into law in May.”
Save Our State Oklahoma noted how the spread of the virus in a third wave across our state is already devastating. Currently, Oklahoma is recording more daily cases than it was at the start of the fall spike that killed thousands of our friends, family and neighbors. With one of the ten lowest vaccination rates in the nation, Oklahoma is particularly vulnerable to this dangerous strain of the virus.
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As we prepare to enter school, local districts have been restricted in their ability to protect the health and wellbeing of our students and teachers. SB 658 prevents local school districts from requiring masks without a state of emergency in place.
Physicians warn that already strained hospital capacities for both adults and children will become even more strained as schools reopen. Our children and young Oklahomans are becoming increasingly ill and pediatric patients are having to be transferred out of the state for treatment.
While the governor reportedly claims there “is no need” for a state of emergency, it is abundantly clear that immediate action is required to keep Oklahomans safe, the advocacy group said.
“It is the hope of Save Our State and every Oklahoman who boldly placed their name on this letter that our state leaders will do what has been made necessary because of the implementation of SB 658. Governor Stitt must issue a state of emergency immediately. This call to action has nothing to do with politics, rather it has everything to do with protecting the people of Oklahoma.”
By Wednesday morning on August 4th, the letter had been signed by more than 2100 Oklahomans in over 160 cities and towns across the state.
You can read the full letter to Governor Stitt and Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell by clicking here.