Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus and that he is isolating at home, making him the first U.S. governor to report testing positive. The 48-year-old Stitt said he started feeling “a little achy” Tuesday and sought a test, adding that his wife and children were also tested Tuesday and that none of their results came back positive. Oklahoma Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said contact tracing has begun in Stitt’s case, with a particular emphasis on determining those who may have been within 6 feet of the governor for longer than 15 minutes.
Stitt’s announcement came as Oklahoma reported a second consecutive day of record-high numbers of confirmed new virus cases. Coronavirus-related hospitalizations also are surging in Oklahoma, increasing from 458 last week to 561 on Wednesday, although Frye said there is still plenty of hospital capacity.
Stitt has backed one of the country’s most aggressive reopening plans, resisted any statewide mandate on masks and rarely wears one himself. “We respect people’s rights … to not wear a mask,” Stitt said during Wednesday’s news conference, which was held virtually. “You just open up a big can of worms. “A lot of businesses are requiring it, and that’s fine,” he said. “I’m just hesitant to mandate something that I think is problematic to enforce.”