Oklahoma Democrats call on governor to reinstate emergency declaration as cases rise
A group of Democrats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives is pushing Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt to reinstate the state’s emergency declaration for COVID-19.
The calls for action come as cases climb again around the state and many schools have enacted policies to not quarantine students who have been exposed, according to KOCO News 5.
Stitt ended the state’s emergency declaration in May and said last week that he doesn’t plan on reinstating it.
“This is about personal responsibility,” he said during a Tulsa press conference on Friday, according to KOCO. “This is about freedom.”
State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, a Tulsa Democrat, blasted the governor’s remarks and called for stricter state-wide coronavirus policies.
“Needs across Oklahoma are different, and one thing is clear — we need local control returned and we need it now,” she said in a statement Monday, The Associated Press reports.
State Rep. Trish Ranson (D) echoed Provenzano’s concerns, according to KOCO.
“After speaking to leadership in some of these districts, it is becoming clear that they are following guidance from the state health department, which is concerning since the policies are not consistent with CDC guidelines,” she said.
Ranson added, “The lack of consistent and fact-based policy from state leadership has left our entire community exposed and unprepared for this growing COVID wave.”
As of Tuesday, the state had 466,733 active COVID-19 cases, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The seven-day average for the state was reported to be 843 cases.