Governor Stitt announces changes to Oklahoma hospital surge plan

The governor says COVID-19 recovery numbers are encouraging

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — During his COVID-19 news conference on Thursday, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced changes to the state’s hospital surge plan.

COVID-19 Update

We are live providing an update on the the State's COVID-19 Hospital Surge Plan

Posted by Governor Kevin Stitt on Thursday, August 6, 2020

The new plan is in place in case metro hospitals in Tulsa and Oklahoma City were to reach 100 percent of staff capacity.

Stitt announced he’s increasing the number of surge beds to 340. 120 of those beds will stay at OSU Medical Center here in Tulsa.

There was also good news, according to Stitt, regarding time spent in the hospital for COVID-19. Stitt says, in the beginning, it was about two weeks.

“Thanks to the work of our medical professionals and the advancements in treatments, that stay is now down to an average of 5 to 8 days in the hospital,” Governor Stitt told reporters.

Governor Stitt went on to say he’s encouraged by the recovery rate numbers he’s seeing from the Oklahoma Department of Health.

“Out of all the folks that have tested positive since June 1st, there’s a 99.3 percent recovery rate in Oklahoma. Under the age of 65, the recovery rate is 99.8 percent.”

The state recorded 837 additional cases of the virus on Thursday, while 937 people were considered recovered.

Stitt says the state has made progress in the fight against COVID-19, including stockpiling personal protective equipment and running more than 680,000 tests.

He says they are continuing to hire more contact tracers.

Stitt’s office also announced plans earlier Thursday to allocate about $250 million in CARES Act funds to Oklahoma cities and counties based on their population.

The change is meant to allow for city and county governments to access coronavirus relief dollars faster and more efficiently.

“For the past two months, the State has closely followed guidance from the federal government in how to distribute critical Coronavirus Relief Funds to state agencies, cities and counties,” Stitt says.

“After working with and observing the fiscal impact of COVID-19 on local governments, I directed our team to streamline its reimbursement process and to deliver more flexibility for getting these critical funds out the door.”

The funding will be distributed based on a city or county’s population based on 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimates with about $77 million earmarked per capita.

The state received about $1.5 billion in relief funding with about $1.2 billion available as some $300 million was earmarked to cities and counties with populations of more than 500,000.

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