Oklahoma medical group leader renews call for mask mandate

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
10/25/2020 11:00 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association is renewing the group’s call for a statewide mask mandate as the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus has reached record levels.

OSMA President George Monks said in a tweet on Oct. 18 that cities in Oklahoma that have adopted mask ordinances have seen lower rates of infection.

“We need face mask mandates to protect more of our Oklahoma citizens,” Monks tweeted.

The association has been calling for a statewide mask mandate since the summer, but Gov. Kevin Stitt has repeatedly said he has no plans to do so, citing concerns about how such a mandate would be enforced.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported there were a record-high 792 people hospitalized on Oct. 16. Monks said many Oklahoma hospitals and their staffs are strained as a result.

Health officials on Oct. 19 reported 774 new confirmed coronavirus cases in Oklahoma and two additional deaths.

The latest numbers from the Oklahoma State Department of Health bring the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 108,073 and the overall death count to 1,173. The true number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick. 

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, and death.

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