OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One day after Oklahoma saw its largest spike in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced that he has tested positive for the virus.
On Tuesday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 21,738 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.
That’s an increase of 993 cases over the past 24 hours.
Officials say four additional people have died, bringing the total to 428 deaths connected to COVID-19.
Currently, officials say there are 546 people who are hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19.
Oklahoma Interim Commissioner of Health Lance Frye says the state currently has plenty of personal protective equipment for hospitals across the state, and that the positive rate of those tested for COVID-19 is lower than the national average.
Right now, Frye says the state has more than 240 hospital beds available for patients.
However, officials say most of the cases are in the 18 to 35-year-old age range, and most of those patients do not need to be hospitalized.
“We went from a crisis mode to a risk management mode” Frye said.
Although state leaders say they are watching the data closely, Gov. Kevin Stitt says Oklahomans should take precautions and learn from him.
Stitt says that he is tested regularly for COVID-19, and received a positive result during his test on Tuesday.
He says he doesn’t feel very ill, but is a little achy.
Stitt says that he is quarantining himself and will be working from home for the next two weeks.
“We have to adjust our behaviors,” Stitt said.
Stitt says he thinks he is the first governor to test positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic.
“I want to use my story to remind Oklahomans that if you’re not feeling well, we want you to get tested,” Stitt said.
So far, he says he doesn’t know where he contracted the virus but doesn’t believe that he was contagious before Saturday.
KFOR received a tip on Tuesday night, saying the governor had tested positive for COVID-19. KFOR immediately contacted the governor’s office to confirm that tip. After 40 minutes of no response, we submitted another request for comment.
At that time, Charlie Hannema, Stitt’s Chief of Communications, responded by thanking us for not reporting anything based on ‘assumptions’ and assured us that he had just talked to the governor and that governor was feeling “great.”
Stitt says that he doesn’t believe that going back through the reopening process is necessary, saying that Oklahoma has already flattened the curve.
At this point, he says he is not considering a mask mandate for the state.