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US governor tests positive for coronavirus

Kevin Stitt said he is isolating at home and mostly feels fine.

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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

Kevin Stitt has announced he is the first governor in the United States to test positive for coronavirus and is isolating at home.

Mr Stitt, 48, said he mostly feels fine, although he started feeling “a little achy” on Tuesday and sought a test.

He said his wife and children were also tested Tuesday and none of them tested positive.

I’m just hesitant to mandate something that I think is problematic to enforceKevin Stitt on face coverings

Mr Stitt has backed one of the country’s most aggressive reopening plans, resisted any statewide mandate on masks and rarely wears one himself.

“We respect people’s rights … to not wear a mask,” Mr Stitt said during Wednesday’s news conference, which was held virtually.

“You just open up a big can of worms. A lot of businesses are requiring it and that’s fine.

“I’m just hesitant to mandate something that I think is problematic to enforce.”

Mr Stitt attended US President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last month, which health experts have said likely contributed to a surge in coronavirus cases there.

The governor said he is confident he did not contract the virus at the rally.

“As far as where he became infected, it’s really unknown,” Oklahoma health commissioner Lance Frye said.

“It wasn’t so far back as the rally,” he said, which took place nearly a month ago.

Mr Stitt’s announcement came as Oklahoma reported a second consecutive day of record-high numbers of confirmed virus cases, with 1,075 new cases.

It brings the statewide total to more than 22,000. The previous daily high was 993 confirmed cases on Tuesday.

Health officials also confirmed four additional Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the statewide death toll to 432.

Coronavirus-related hospital admissions also are surging in Oklahoma, increasing from 458 last week to 561 on Wednesday.

Mr Frye said there is still plenty of hospital capacity.

Mr Stitt came under fire early in the pandemic after he tweeted a photo of himself and his children eating at a crowded restaurant.

One of Mr Stitt’s Cabinet members, David Ostrowe, tested positive for the coronavirus in March.

PA