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'Frontier' investigative report probes Stitt's early response to COVID-19 pandemic

'Frontier' investigative report probes Stitt's early response to COVID-19 pandemic

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An investigative report from The Frontier took an extensive inside look at Gov. Kevin Stitt’s early handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

The report – titled ‘Confusion, defiance and focus on ‘personal responsibility’ shaped Gov. Stitt’s initial pandemic response – was written by reporter Ben Felder after combing through over 7,000 emails and listening to hours of audio.

In one piece of audio from March 23, Stitt questions the feasibility of maintaining his Shelter in Place executive order until December.

“Let’s say we did Shelter in Place. We've got 81 positive cases. When do we lift Shelter in Place? How long do we keep that going? Because if the epidemiologist and the graph shows that we're going to peak in August or September or December, which are really scenarios that we're looking at, I don't think it's feasible to do Shelter in Place through August or December or even January,” Stitt said.

Stitt said in the audio from March that the pandemic would peak in either August, September or December. However, Stitt said publicly in early April that the virus could peak by late April.

Felder obtained the audio, along with the thousands of emails, through an open records request.

Stitt issued 19 executive orders concerning COVID-19. An order that related to elective surgeries caused some confusion.

“There were times he was on a call with doctors who were saying his order banning elective surgeries in an effort to save medical supplies and capacity at hospitals was confusing; that there were patients that were requiring surgery for breast cancer or a tumor or heart blockages that because of his order were told they were going to have to postpone their surgery,” Felder said. “When the governor was told about that, it was shocking to him; he said to the doctors, ‘I didn't think my order would stop these people from having surgery.’”

The report also covers Stitt’s discussion about COVID-19 as it pertains to restaurants, churches and maintaining the economy.

To read the full report, go to The Frontier website.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage


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