As we head into week three of our legislative slowdown, we did actually meet Monday for a short time to pass some legislation giving our governor more authority over state and county healthcare during this COVID-19 outbreak. We also passed some budget bills moving money from several state savings accounts to the general fund to help us finish out Fiscal Year 2020 without cuts to any core service. It’s anticipated we will meet again in May to iron out our FY21 budget and maybe pass a few policy bills. It’s too soon to say what the final budget will look like.

Testing kits are starting to be made available to the local health departments. As always, they seem like they are too few and take too long to get results back. I realize lots of people want to be tested even though they show no symptoms, just for peace of mind. Remember, the test is only a snapshot of that moment, if you test negative but remain out in the public there’s no assurance you might not contract the virus on your way home. I believe the key to beating this thing is to stay home and away from people to the extent possible.

Latimer County mourns the loss of life of one of our own to this terrible invisible disease. Our thoughts and prayers go out to this family. Hopefully, we can get ahead of this disease before it spreads everywhere like it seems to have in our larger cities.

As I close out on a brighter note, many of you have read where we were able to facilitate a transfer of some surplus hospital beds from the Talihina Veterans Center to McAlester Regional Health Center. This was in anticipation of an increase of patients, which we hope never happens. If it should, though, we believe McAlester Regional will be able to handle the influx.

Thanks again for allowing me to serve you, and never hesitate to reach out to me with anything on which I may be able to assist. I can be reached at Jim.Grego@okhouse.gov or (405) 557-7381.

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