Washington — Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, confirmed Wednesday he tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first governor in the U.S. to become infected.
Stitt revealed his COVID-19 diagnosis in a virtual press conference with Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Colonel Lance Frye, during which the two officials provided an update on the state's response to the pandemic.
The GOP governor said he gets tested "periodically," with his most recent test occurring Tuesday. He received his results Tuesday around 12:30 p.m., he said.
"The results came back positive," he said. "So I feel fine. I felt a little bit achy yesterday, didn't have a fever, but just a little bit achy."
Stitt said he wanted to be "transparent" with Oklahoma residents and is isolating at home away from his family.
Oklahoma is one more than 40 states experiencing a spike in coronavirus infectious. There have been more than 22,800 confirmed cases in the state and 432 deaths.
Stitt was among the elected officials who attended President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month. The director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department, Dr. Bruce Dart, said last week the area reported nearly 500 new cases and said the president's rally, as well as accompanying protests, "more than likely contributed" to the uptick in infections.
But Stitt, who was seen in photos not wearing a mask, said he doesn't believe he was infected at the rally.
"It's too long ago for it to be dormant based on the science," he said.
Frye, too, told reporters Mr. Trump's rally was "too long ago" and added it's unknown where the governor was infected.
Stitt also attended a roundtable at the White House on June 18, during which he and other governors met with Mr. Trump to discuss reopening of small businesses.
The increase in new coronavirus cases across the country has led many governors to halt reopenings of their economies. In some states, governors and local officials have reimposed restrictions on businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, while others are mandating residents wear masks or face-coverings when in public.
Some cities in Oklahoma are urging people to wear masks when they are indoors, but there is no statewide mandate. Stitt said he is not considering such a requirement.