City leadership monitoring spike in COVID-19 Cases; New, restrictive emergency proclamations may follow

Media Release

Stillwater cases of COVID-19 are up to 147 active cases as of today, and that number will likely rise over the weekend. During the shelter-at-home phase this spring, Stillwater’s number hovered around 22 active cases.  

The surge in COVID-19 cases statewide over the last two weeks is being driven largely by increases among people 35 and younger, according to the Oklahoma State Health Department.

“We are concerned,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “Those of us in local government are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of all of our residents. If we have to take action, we will.”

While Stillwater is currently in Phase 3 of the State’s Open Up and Recover Safely Plan (OURS), city leadership is collecting, monitoring, analyzing, and sharing a wide range of key data-driven metrics before it makes decisions that may result in a new emergency proclamation and possibly a step back to Phase 2.

“One key metric that we monitor is if the Stillwater Medical Center is able to care for a spike in coronavirus patients. We ask: Do they have enough beds, ventilators, and personal protection equipment (PPE)?” McNickle said. “We also have to understand what is happening in our community, and what we are seeing are people age 20 to 27 socializing in large groups, not wearing masks and not following other CDC guidelines. This is the reason for the recent spike in Stillwater’s cases.”

Mayor Will Joyce stressed that he does not want to issue a new, more restrictive emergency proclamation, but that may happen. “Right now, we are focusing our efforts on more education and public outreach,” Joyce said. City council recently formed a COVID-19 Communications Committee to focus on outreach. Members include OSU, Payne County Health Department, Oklahoma State Health Department, Stillwater Medical Center and the City of Stillwater Marketing and Civic Engagement Department.

“We need to communicate clearly with our residents, which includes our student residents at OSU and NOC,” Joyce said. “We need everyone to actively follow the CDC guidelines for this pandemic.”

The CDC recommends the following actions:

  • Wear mask when unable to socially distance—even if you are asymptomatic.
  • Wash your hands and sanitize often.
  • Stay home if you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, which may include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
  • Keep away from others who are sick.
  • Limit close contact with others. Try to stay at least 6 feet apart.
  • Be an advocate for at-risk populations.

“We ask that everyone become an advocate for at-risk populations,” McNickle said. “Even if you don’t think you are vulnerable or that you are in contact with those at-risk—you are. Your actions, or lack of actions, have a direct impact on your fellow residents. Please be considerate. Wear your masks. Limit close contact with others.”

The mayor posted this statement on his social media platforms earlier this week: “We’ve done a great job locally up to this point, and we are not going to eradicate coronavirus through social distancing alone. There will be cases in our community going forward, so we all need to commit to keeping the virus in check. If we work together, care for our neighbors, and take the recommended precautions, we can keep our community safe and healthy. Please wear a mask in public, stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds, and minimize personal contact.”

Oklahoma State Health Department released today’s number of positive cases of COVID-19:

  • State of Oklahoma: Active 2127, Cumulative 9706, Recovered 7212, Deaths 367
  • Payne County: Active 154, Cumulative 208, Recovered 53, Deaths 1
  • Stillwater: Active 147, Cumulative 178, Recovered 31, Deaths 0, Hospitalizations 1 (confirmed)
  • Total cases for Stillwater this week (15-19) – 99 cases
  • Stillwater is number 9 on the list for Oklahoma
  • Payne County is number 7 on the list for Oklahoma

For more information, visit the City of Stillwater’s COVID-19 webpage at http://stillwater.org/page/breaking-news.