Governor: Oklahoma economy’s reopening set for next phase
Ayden Korn, 16, of Tulsa, winces as Ashley Perry puts a needle in his arm while donating blood plasma on May 21 at Oklahoma Blood Institute’s Tulsa Donor Center. Korn donated his plasma after contracting COVID-19 and testing positive for antibodies. IAN MAULE/TULSA WORLD VIA AP
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma remained on track on May 29 to enter the next phase of the governor’s plan to reopen businesses that were closed or restricted to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
State officials are moving ahead with the plan to start the new phase on June 1 based on health data, Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a news release.
“It is important Oklahomans remember COVID-19 is still in the United States and we must continue to be diligent about washing our hands frequently, maintaining physical distance and protecting our most vulnerable populations,” he said.
The reopening plan is proceeding despite the continued spread of the disease in Oklahoma. The state health department on May 29 reported 68 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three new deaths from the disease caused by the coronavirus. The latest figures brought the state’s overall number of confirmed cases since the pandemic’s start to 6,338 and its death toll to 329, though the actual number of people who have contracted the disease is believed to be much higher because of a lack of testing and because some people with the disease don’t show symptoms.
Health officials said at least 5,340 people in Oklahoma had recovered from the illness, and Stitt said there were 708 known active cases as of May 29.
The next phase of the reopening includes lifting the cap on the number of people who can be inside a business, allowing walk-in customers at businesses, and the opening of youth summer camps, all with social distancing and sanitation requirements.
People age 65 or older and those who are medically vulnerable are still encouraged to stay home, and visitation to long-term care facilities such as nursing homes will still be banned, except for patients who are close to death.
For most people, the 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.