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Oklahoma governor says state budget shortfall is $416M

April 3, 2020 GMT
In this Thursday, April 2, 2020, photo, RN Summer Jones, wipes a tear away as she sees supporters cheer during an event called Headlights for Hope at Ascension St. John in Owasso, Okla. Cars crowded into the parking lot and turned headlights and hazards on, honked horns and cheered to thank medical personnel for their work in the COVID-19 outbreak. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
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In this Thursday, April 2, 2020, photo, RN Summer Jones, wipes a tear away as she sees supporters cheer during an event called Headlights for Hope at Ascension St. John in Owasso, Okla. Cars crowded into the parking lot and turned headlights and hazards on, honked horns and cheered to thank medical personnel for their work in the COVID-19 outbreak. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
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In this Thursday, April 2, 2020, photo, RN Summer Jones, wipes a tear away as she sees supporters cheer during an event called Headlights for Hope at Ascension St. John in Owasso, Okla. Cars crowded into the parking lot and turned headlights and hazards on, honked horns and cheered to thank medical personnel for their work in the COVID-19 outbreak. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Battered oil prices and the state’s economic shutdown in response to the coronavirus is expected to punch a $416 million hole in this year’s state budget, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Friday.

A panel led by Stitt will meet on Monday to declare a revenue failure, and lawmakers will return to the state Capitol to help shore up the budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30. Lawmakers have about $1 billion in savings, and the state is expected to receive about $844 million as part of the $2 trillion federal aid package.

The shortfall is even larger than budget officials projected earlier this week.

The Legislature is returning for a special session that was automatically triggered on Thursday when Stitt declared a statewide health emergency that gives the governor sweeping new powers to help battle the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Legislature also never adjourned its regular session. House and Senate leaders have said they intend to return later in the spring to vote on next year’s budget and pass a few essential bills.

Four more people have died in Oklahoma from COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 38, state health officials reported on Friday.

Another 109 Oklahomans have tested positive for the virus as the total number of cases reached 988, the State Department of Health reported. Among those who have tested positive is a Tulsa police officer and a state prison worker at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington, officials said Friday.

The four deaths reported Friday were all women over age 65. Three were in Tulsa County, and one was in Cleveland County.

State health officials said this week they received enough testing supplies to conduct more than 13,000 tests and encouraged doctors and labs to test anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

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For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The State Department of Health also announced that it was setting up mobile testing sites at 19 locations across the state.

Gov. Kevin Stitt earlier this week announced he was extending his “Safer at Home” order to all 77 counties that requires non-essential businesses to shut down and prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people.