April 2, 2020
While the governor issued an executive order that includes a “Safer at Home” provision, I want to expand on that to clarify everyone should continue to stay on top of their health issues. The Safer at Home order, which is statewide, directs those 65 and older and those who are immunocompromised or have other pre-existing conditions to shelter in home, leaving only for essential needs like groceries or prescriptions.
If you or a loved one falls into this category, please remember it is vital for you or them to stay on top of any ongoing health concerns. If you have a doctor’s appointment or need one, call and see what the options are — telemedicine is being utilized during this pandemic, and that may be one possibility.
For those who must be seen in person, call ahead and see how your doctor or caregiver’s office is handling it. They may direct you to a specific entrance where your temperature may be taken first so they determine how best to proceed—they’ll likely tell you what to expect when you call. Please stay on top of your prescriptions and any other medications or therapies so that you don’t wind up sicker and in the hospital.
Another statewide order is not to be in groups of ten people or more and try to keep six feet apart from those you are in personal contact with — it’s part of the social distancing needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.
All non-essential businesses in counties with positive COVID-19 cases are closed until April 15 under the latest order. The number of counties impacted continues to grow daily. If you aren’t sure about your county, there’s a daily report by the Oklahoma State Department of Health that you can view online at https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/. Non-essential businesses that are specifically listed (but not limited to) include entertainment and “close-touch” businesses such as hair salons, gyms, theaters, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and museums. Restaurants in those counties can remain open, but only for pick-up, curbside service or delivery — no dine-in service is allowed.
Elective surgeries, minor medical procedures, and non-emergency dental procedures are suspended until April 7 to preserve medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 response. The order also restricts visitors at nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities in order to better protect these vulnerable citizens.
It’s important to take care of your emotional and mental health as well. Stay in contact with friends, family and social groups, but do it online or by phone to protect yourself and others. And if you feel you need someone to talk about what’s happening, the Health Department is reminding Oklahomans there’s a disaster distress helpline at 1-800-985-5990.
While we are focused on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I still want to remind everyone to complete your 2020 Census forms. Again, billions of dollars of federal funding for hospitals, schools, roads, water systems and other critical services is distributed based on population, and those numbers come directly from the U.S. Census. You can respond online, by mail or by phone. For more information, go to 2020Census.gov.
I am honored to serve you in the Oklahoma State Senate. If you have a question about a legislative matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (405) 521-5541 or by email at [email protected]