OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt called Thursday for a special session of the Legislature as part of his declaration of a health emergency in all 77 counties.
Declaring a health emergency gives the governor broader powers to coordinate the state’s response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, including the ability to waive some statutory or regulatory requirements, said Stitt spokesman Charlie Hannema. State law requires the Legislature to convene within two business days to either concur with or terminate the health emergency, so the Legislature is expected to convene at 8 a.m. Monday.
“Now is the time to align all public health entities in the state as we work together to prepare for a surge in demand on our hospitals,” Stitt said in a statement. “This will allow us to coordinate resources and ensure all Oklahomans have the best access to the medical care they need.”
Under Stitt’s order
Oklahoma has at least 879 cases and 34 deaths due to COVID-19, health officials announced
The four new deaths reported on Thursday were two men in Tulsa County, a man in Stephens County and a man in Muskogee County.
On Wednesday, Stitt extended his “Safer At Home” order until April 30 and included all 77 counties, rather than just those with a confirmed case. The order requires non-essential businesses to shut down and the elderly and medically vulnerable to stay indoors.
For most people, the new 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, or death.
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