TULSA, Okla. (August 16, 2020) — Governor Kevin Stitt along with state and local leaders met with White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx Sunday afternoon during a roundtable discussion at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.
The conversation centered around Oklahoma’s COVID-19 response, testing strategies regarding college and K-12 school settings, and data trends from other states.
Dr. Birx discussed the need for mitigation actions specifically tailored to conditions in local communities and praised Oklahoma’s push to use saliva testing.
“She was very complimentary of our testing plan and what we’re doing with our universities,” said Gov. Stitt. “I had Secretary of Science and Innovation Elizabeth Pollard discussing our strategy, and Dr. Birx said she’s going to take that back with her and share some of it with the other states she is visiting.”
Oklahoma’s 7-day average of new positive cases has declined 38% since its highest level a few weeks ago. Dr. Birx told Gov. Stitt that while trends were moving in the right direction, it is important to remain vigilant and continue to have a plan if things change.
“There are a lot of levers we can pull, but at this point we are in really good shape," continued Gov. Stitt. "We have to be very cautious as kids are going back to school. That’s why Oklahomans need to continue to social distance, and wear masks when they cannot maintain their distance so we can keep up this positive trend that we’re on right now.”
Meeting attendees included:
Dr. Deborah Birx
Governor Kevin Stitt
U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-1)
Interim Commissioner of Health Lance Frye, MD
Secretary of Health and Mental Health Kevin Corbett
Secretary of Science and Innovation Elizabeth Pollard
Secretary of Agency Accountability and State COO John Budd
Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU Center for Health Sciences President
Dr. Mousumi Som, OSU Center for Health Sciences Chief of Staff
G.T. Bynum, Mayor of Tulsa
Joy Hofmeister, Superintendent of Public Instruction
Dr. Mike Woods, Hennessey Public Schools Superintendent
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City
Rep. Marcus McIntyre, R-Duncan
Bond Payne, Chief of Staff to Gov. Stitt
Brian Bingman, Chief Policy Advisor to Gov. Stitt