Mayor David Holt is imploring metro residents to take a break from higher-risk activities for the next 10 days, Nov. 20 – 30, and social distance from each other to help stop the skyrocketing spread of COVID-19 in the metro. He is also asking residents to work from home, order takeout, avoid meetings and gatherings that lack distance, and take extra precautions around Thanksgiving and holiday shopping.
“It’s time to get real,” Holt said during a virtual news conference at the OKC-County Health Department. “For at least the next 10 days, I’m asking you to make some tough decisions and take a break.”
Since Nov. 1, daily new coronavirus case counts have nearly tripled from already high levels in the Oklahoma City metro, according to state and local public health data. At more than 800 new cases per day, it’s about 16 times higher than the spring. About 1 out of every 100 metro residents has tested positive for the virus in the last three weeks.
Local hospitals are operating near capacity and expect even more patients, as many people infected during the dramatic recent increase in new cases get sicker in the coming days and weeks.
OCCHD Director Dr. Patrick McGough said people should consider the cost of their Thanksgiving plans.
“Consider whether that plan is worth spending two to three weeks in the hospital. Consider whether that plan is worth unknowingly giving the virus to your grandmother, grandfather, aunt or uncle, who could potentially lose their life before the end of the year if exposed to the virus,” he said. “Trust me, not seeing your family for one Thanksgiving is far better than having that chair empty next year, and every year after.”
The vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 develop symptoms within 10 days, according to expert analysis of public health data. If everyone keeps their distance and wears masks during brief public outings for necessities or essential work, the spread of the virus slow down within those 10 days.
10 days to stop the spread
Mayor Holt is asking for all OKC residents to take specific steps for at least the next 10 days to stop the spread:
- Don’t meet in groups, especially indoors.
- Politely decline social invitations. Suggest a phone or video call instead.
- Order takeout to support restaurants. But don’t gather with others there.
- Consider alternative ways to gather for Thanksgiving.
- People with authority over office workplaces should transition staff to remote work. Do not hold in-person meetings.
- For those who must work in person, call co-workers instead of visiting them, even from the office next door.
- Religious leaders should encourage their communities to follow these guidelines.
- For gatherings that must take place, require masks and distancing
- Wear masks for holiday shopping. Many local and national retailers also have curbside pickup for online or phone orders.
- Help elevate this message: Tell family, friends and neighbors to take a break for 10 days.
Stay up to date about emergency proclamations and coronavirus statistics for the metro at covid19.okc.gov.