Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, The Oklahoman reported. He is believed to be the first governor to test positive for the virus.
In a conference call with reporters, Stitt, 47, confirmed that he's been getting tested ever since the pandemic began and that he tested positive on Tuesday.
"I personally get tested periodically throughout this whole thing. I got tested yesterday for COVID-19 and the results came back positive," he said.
As CNN reported, Stitt said he feels "fine," aside from feeling a "little bit achy." He also noted that he will be self-quarantining and working from home for the foreseeable future.
"I want to use my story to remind Oklahomans that if you aren't feeling well, we want you to get tested," he said.
Stitt's wife, First Lady Sarah Stitt, and the couple's six children have all tested negative for the virus.
Stitt has encouraged Oklahomans to wear masks in public, though he himself has rarely been seen in public wearing one. He has declined to issue a statewide mask mandate.
As reported in a companion Oklahoman report, Oklahoma is in the midst of a surge of COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, the state recorded 993 additional cases, topping the previous daily record of 858 from last week. In total, the state has confirmed 21,738 COVID-19 cases, with 4,675 of those currently active. The state also recorded four more deaths from the illness last week, bringing the statewide total to 428.
Meanwhile, a surge in COVID-19 cases in Tulsa has been blamed, at least in part, on a rally President Donald Trump held there on June 20, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. About 6,200 people attended the rally inside the BOK Center. Few attendees wore masks, and little social distancing was practiced.
Stitt was among those attendees and he did not wear a mask. However, Stitt says he could not have caught the disease at the rally, because the Tulsa rally took place 25 days ago. COVID-19 symptoms generally appear within 3-15 days after the patient contracts the virus
"I don't think there was any way it was at the President's rally. It's too long ago," Stitt said.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health backed up Stitt's claim that he didn't get the disease at the Trump rally, saying that, based on contact tracing, it's not possible he picked it up there.
Dr. Lance Frye, the commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said it's not known specifically when Stitt got infected, but that it had to have been within the last two weeks.