Stitt ends Oklahoma's State of Emergency

by Jordan Green

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday signed an executive order ending the state of emergency he enacted in March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The state of emergency expired Tuesday. “Because Oklahomans used personal responsibility to protect themselves, their families and our most vulnerable, the data shows COVID-19 is no longer an emergency,” Stitt said in a video message.

“That’s why I’m withdrawing my emergency declaration.” Stitt said the state’s seven-day average of new cases has dropped by more than 90%, and the state’s new cases per capita “are some of the lowest in the country.” Stitt also said COVID-19-related hospitalizations have decreased. “Back in February, I cast a vision that we would get our summer back,” Stitt said.

“Oklahoma, now is the time.” The end of the emergency order mostly affects state agencies’ hiring of additional workers to combat the pandemic. However, it also requires public bodies such as city councils to resume in-person meetings unless state lawmakers pass legislation allowing virtual meetings to continue, The Oklahoman reported Monday. Stitt lifted the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on the public earlier this year. Data from the Oklahoma State Health Department on Tuesday showed that Kay County had 5,305 cases of the virus, 127 of which are active.

Officials said 5,052 Kay County residents have recovered from the virus, and 126 have died from it. State officials report that there are 3,887 cases of the virus in Ponca City. Eightyone people there have died, and 3,722 have recovered. Blackwell has 680 cases, with 623 recoveries and 27 deaths. Newkirk has 437 cases, with 421 recoveries and six deaths. Tonkawa has 374 cases, with 353 recoveries and 15 deaths. Kaw City has 63 cases, with 60 recoveries and three deaths. That leaves the town with no active cases.

Braman has 24 cases, with 22 recoveries and one death. The state health department does not provide data on coronavirus cases in some of the state’s smallest towns, including Nardin in Kay County. In recent weeks, the state health department has changed the way it counts coronavirus cases and deaths. The department now includes provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control on its website. Those numbers are higher than the state’s investigated total number of cases.

The department’s investigated numbers show that the state has 447,279 cases of the virus. Of those cases, 10,396 are active. Statewide, 430,095 people have recovered from the virus, and 6,788 people have died from it. The CDC’s provisional numbers show that the state has 448,787 cases of the virus and 8,298 deaths. More than 2.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Oklahoma.