Baylee Lakey, the governor’s communications director, issued a statement Tuesday that said the state met all White House criteria when it began reopening the state and that it was understandable that cases may now be increasing since the state is now 15 days into the final phase of its reopening plan.
“As the governor has said, COVID-19 is still in the United States and is still in Oklahoma,” Lakey said. “The original public health measures were put in place to allow us time to build a robust testing and tracing infrastructure, hospital capacity and our PPE (personal protective equipment) supply.
“The State has more than 80 free mobile testing sites in operation, has implemented a hospital surge plan that has expanded capacity by 40% and has acquired massive amounts of PPE for emergency support. Oklahoma has also prioritized data transparency to empower citizens, business leaders and elected officials across the state on how to make unique accommodations to protect vulnerable populations.
“Oklahoma is prepared to confront COVID-19 until a vaccine is developed.”
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Bratzler said the spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases can’t be attributed to more testing. The state actually performed more tests the week of May 17, but the number of tests that came back positive in the week that followed was only 1.8%. Last week, 4.6% of the tests came back positive.
Hospitalizations remain relatively low, with about 170 people hospitalized who have either been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are under investigation for COVID-19 symptoms, he said.
Bratzler said the hospitalization rate may be lower because more younger people are being diagnosed with the virus.
“Part of the reason we may not be seeing as many hospitalizations and deaths is that it is a different demographic right now that are testing positive,” he said.