Oklahoma Governor Urges Mask Wearing in Wake of School Reopenings

William D. Jones, MD, of Oklahoma City, OK, cares for patients as an occupational and preventive medicine physician. As part of his Oklahoma City, OK, practice, William D. Jones, MD, follows developments related to COVID-19 across his home state.

On September 1, Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt convened a press conference where he encouraged all of the state’s residents to do their part in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus by wearing masks. The governor made his announcement in the context of the recent reopening of the state’s schools, noting that mask-wearing is essential to ensuring they remain in session.

Stitt, who tested positive for COVID-19 in July, reiterated that he will refrain from issuing a statewide mask order, instead putting the onus on local officials, many of whom have mandated mask-wearing in their municipalities. According to Oklahoma medical experts, these local mandates have been effective, with cities with mask orders seeing lower transmission rates than those without.

Oklahoma’s interim commissioner of health, Colonel Lance Frye, notes that more than 35 of the state’s counties currently meet the criteria for recommended mask wearing. As for the governor, in addition to urging the wearing of masks, he reminded Oklahomans to continue to protect themselves and their neighbors by washing their hands and practicing social distancing.