Oklahoma Senate Democrats sent Gov. Kevin Stitt a letter Tuesday saying the state “faces a serious public health emergency” and urging implementation of White House Coronavirus Task Force recommendations.

They called on the governor to rely on the advice of medical experts, provide public schools with resources to prevent spread of COVID-19, and minority and under-served communities have access to affordable health care.

Matt Stacy, special advisor to the state health commissioner, said the department was “closely monitoring hospital capacity and working with hospitals to ensure they have the resources they need to give the best quality care.”

“There are a lot of factors that can influence data on any given day, and we will continue to monitor hospitalizations closely to see if state intervention is required to ensure hospital beds are available to COVID patients who need them,” he said in a written statement.

Stacy said staffed ICU bed availability averaged 5.8% in Oklahoma County in the past seven days.

Yazdanipour said hospital staff was being stretched by patients from the state prison system and patients with mental illnesses. Both classes of patients require “extra hands,” she said.

Mayor David Holt said recently “things would be worse” without the mask ordinance. Yazdanipour called it “our saving grace.”

Dr. Patrick McGough, executive director of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, offered a hopeful remark, saying there were signs a decline in new Oklahoma County cases could be in the offing after recent daily peaks.

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