OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday took issue with a comment that he labeled as “editorial” in the latest report and recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which says the state has had “many preventable deaths.”
“The governor vehemently disputes the editorial opinion included in this week’s Coronavirus Task Force report,” according to a statement from Stitt’s office. “Our office immediately reached out to the White House for clarification and was assured that language was not unique to Oklahoma, but rather was included in the reports for dozens of states.”
The task force’s report said Oklahoma has seen a slight decrease in both new cases and test positivity over the last week, but still far exceeds the national average and is in the red zone in both categories.
“Community transmission has remained high across the state for the past month, with many preventable deaths,” according to the report.
“The governor maintains that Oklahoma has performed much better than the nation as a whole in terms of protecting our most vulnerable, and the White House agrees with that assertion,” according to Stitt’s statement.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Thursday reported 1,212 new coronavirus cases and 10 additional deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. There have been a total of 95,564 virus cases in the state and 1,075 deaths.
The true number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
The health department reported hospitalizations have declined by 41 to 697 from a record high 738 on Wednesday that there are 13,190 active cases while 81,289 people have recovered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy contributed to this report.