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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Oklahoma City mayor commends state order that, while limited, broadens metro-area restrictions

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Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt on Tuesday commended Gov. Kevin Stitt for an order that closes "non-essential" businesses and limits restaurants to take-out across the metro area, steps Oklahoma City mostly took a week ago but which were not uniformly followed by other metro-area cities.

Stitt’s order applies in 19 counties, including Oklahoma, Cleveland and Canadian where local spread of the coronavirus has been confirmed, but falls short of an across-the-board "shelter-in-place" order like that issued Tuesday by Norman Mayor Breea Clark.

After calling a news conference for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Holt said he wasn't contemplating a shelter-in-place order. Stitt issued his latest order in the interim and Holt said his latest draft emergency proclamation would be amended to conform to the state guidelines.

Holt's order a week ago shut down bars, prohibited dine-in service in restaurants, and closed, among others, gyms, movie theaters and food courts.

Citing on Tuesday the increase to 67 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma, Canadian and Cleveland counties and the first metro-area death, Holt planned to announce further measures along with Dr. Patrick McGough, executive director of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

"We continue to operate in a testing shortage and what few tests we have can take time to analyze, so please take into account that there are undoubtedly many more cases yet to be discovered and that these numbers are not reflective of today’s reality," Holt said on Twitter Tuesday.

At the news conference with McGough and City Manager Craig Freeman, Holt said last week's steps to slow spread of coronavirus were "critical to saving lives. We did what we had to do to save our people."

Holt said McGough would lead a working group to do a daily assessment as conditions change. Further decision-making will be guided by science and public health officials' recommendations, he said.

Holt said discussions were underway at City Hall on strategies for small-business relief.

"We chose the path of saving lives and in the end I believe it will make a difference," he said.

Oklahoma City maintained and was updating comprehensive resources on how to limit exposure to coronavirus, FAQ's on the pandemic, details on emergency orders, and fact-checking of rumors. Find it at okc.gov.

"Our only real tool of mitigation is to reduce the opportunity for local transmission," Holt wrote on Twitter. "We have been working 24/7 the last few days to develop restrictions that address all the high-risk situations."

"Please continue to keep your distance from others and wash your hands," he wrote. "Please continue to respect the closures previously announced."

Related Photos
<strong>Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt speaks during a press conference earlier this week. [Dave Morris/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt speaks during a press conference earlier this week. [Dave Morris/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eaafa27a8fb54fa13f57dd02cbee3b26.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt speaks during a press conference earlier this week. [Dave Morris/The Oklahoman] " title=" Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt speaks during a press conference earlier this week. [Dave Morris/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt speaks during a press conference earlier this week. [Dave Morris/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
William Crum

OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman. Read more ›

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