Capitol Connection: The latest update on COVID-19 from State Representative Mark Lawson

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THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Representative Mark Lawson
  • The Capitol is still closed to the public as part of public health precautions, but the House is open today to serve you remotely.
  • The Legislature has taken unprecedented, necessary, swift steps to continue addressing priorities without placing the public or ourselves in harm’s way.
  • In-person session activities are currently recessed. The House and Senate have not met since last Tuesday and will not meet in person this week, either.•The Legislature has taken the following additional actions:
    • Closed the Capitol to the public a week ago
    • Not returned to the Capitol since a COVID-19 case was confirmed in the building Tuesday
    • Ordered a deep clean of the entire Capitol that was completed Friday
    • Equipped staff and members to work remotely until further notice so work can continue outside of the building
  • Beyond those actions, the House passed a new rule allowing for proxy voting so members can vote remotely, only if necessary.
  • The state budget has been prioritized and will be taken up far earlier than normal this session. The budget has been worked on every day for more than a week in negotiations between the House, Senate and governor.
  • The Legislature is prioritizing public health while maintaining its ability to pass a budget and other policies that may be necessary in response to COVID-19.

TESTING

  • DRIVE-THRU testing sites are opening this week in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, McAlester and Kay County.
  • A testing capacity INCREASE of up to 10,000 within a week could be possible through the authorization of COVID-19 testing in labs at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
  • Because TESTING CAPACITY AND SPEED will be increasing this week, the number of confirmed Oklahoma cases is expected to increase, as well.

SUPPLIES

  • There is no shortage or disruption in the supply chain for GROCERIES. It is not necessary to stockpile months of food at this time.
  • The state has slightly more than nine days of PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT for healthcare workers on hand. Major state and national efforts are underway to obtain more personal protective equipment.

SHELTERING AND CLOSURES

  • Some CITY GOVERNMENTS in Oklahoma have been enacting varying levels of sheltering or closure measures over the past week.
  • State health officials and Governor Stitt are not recommending STATEWIDE sheltering or closures at this time because they do not believe Oklahoma’s statewide situation currently requires it. They acknowledged that could change as the situation changes.

TASK FORCES

  • Governor Stitt has formed a multiagency TASK FORCE to track response and implement SOLUTIONS to the ongoing virus challenge.
  • The OKLAHOMA NATIONAL GUARD has activated a task force and is prepared to deploy in relief efforts if needed.
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