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Gov. Stitt reports positive trends in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Gov. Stitt reports positive trends in COVID-19 hospitalizations

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Stitt press conference Thursday, July 30

Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks during a previous COVID-19 briefing.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said Oklahoma has seen a positive trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations, with less than 5% of active cases now requiring hospital care.

He said the average hospital stay toward the beginning of the pandemic was 14 days but has since shrunk to five days across the state.

Watch the 10 a.m. news conference live here or via the governor's official Facebook page.

Stitt said remdesivir is starting to show promising signs of helping people and lessens the effects of COVID-19 for the most severely infected hospitalized patients. Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, was granted an emergency use authorization in May after trial data showed it helped shorten hospital recovery time for COVID-19 patients by 31%.

The Department of Health and Human Services last week said U.S. hospitals have turned down about a third of their allocated supplies of remdesivir since July as need has waned for the drug, which costs $3,120 for a six-vial course. Government-led distribution of remdesivir expires this month.

Dr. Mousumi Som of OSU Medicine on Thursday noted that when used in concert with a rheumatoid arthritis drug, baricitinib, remdesivir can cut median recovery time by an additional day.

Stitt on Thursday noted an ample supply of the drug in Oklahoma after the state received 810 vials this week and 300 to come next week from HHS.

In April, 25% of active cases were hospitalized patients, Stitt said in noting "positive trends" in hospitalizations since then. He said that was less than 10% for August, and in the past three weeks less than 5% of active cases required hospitalization.

Interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye said the average hospital stay for a COVID-19 patient has been, since July, about five days. 

Frye and Stitt continued to oppose a statewide mask mandate, saying the issue is better left to local leaders and is challenging to enforce.

Stitt also continued to oppose the idea of a second federal stimulus as the pandemic continues, joking that "free money" is always welcome, but as a taxpaying American, he worried about the national debt.

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