- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma State Fair on Friday canceled the heavily attended annual event, citing a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases in the state.

The fair announced in a news release that the decision to cancel came after discussions with other state fair officials, state and local officials, national touring acts and public health agencies.

“The impact of the State Fair’s cancellation will be felt far beyond the loss of our annual celebration,” Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. president and chief executive officer Timothy O’Toole said in the statement. “We are tremendously saddened for the businesses, large and small, that rely on the income and exposure that the State Fair brings them each year.”

The fair annually attracts an estimated 900,000 people during its 11-day run that begins in late September, said spokesperson Scott Munz.

CORONAVIRUS CASES



At least 395 more people have tested positive for the coronavirus and two more people have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the state’s official count Friday.

The department said there have been at least 12,343 confirmed cases and 377 deaths due to COVID-19. The actual number of people who have been infected is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can carry the virus and not feel sick.

The department also reported 308 people hospitalized either with the virus or under observation for the illness while 8,817 are know to have recovered.

The department on Thursday had reported 11,948 confirmed cases and and 375 deaths.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

NO MASKS REQUIRED

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday said there has been no discussion of again closing or curtailing businesses as virus cases and hospitalizations are rising, nor does he support requiring people to wear face coverings.

“I’m always reluctant to mandate things. It’s about freedom and personal responsibility, and I think Oklahomans do a really, really good job.”

Stitt rarely wears masks in public or at his press conferences. During President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last weekend,attended by thousands of supporters, neither Stitt nor his wife wore a mask.

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Associated Press writer Sean Murphy contributed to this report.

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