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'I am pleading with you. Help our community keep functioning fully': Joyce pleads with citizens as Stillwater sees fourth COVID-19 death

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The Oklahoma State Health Department reported its fourth COVID-19 death in Stillwater on Friday.

The department confirmed the man was in the 65 or older age group.

"Almost all of us are working hard to balance normal activity with safety precautions," Stillwater mayor Will Joyce said in a tweet. "But not everyone is doing their part. Some people, are actively working against our community by throwing parties, organizing 'no masks required' tailgates, and encouraging high-risk behavior.

"Even a small minority of people acting this way harms all of us. For months, I've heard from some people that mandates are not the answer; we should instead trust people to make responsible decisions for themselves and those around them. In most cases, I agree. But when a small group of troublemakers has the power to disrupt the education of our children and risk the lives of our loved ones, it becomes very hard to rely only on 'personal responsibility.' It only works when we are all pulling in the same direction."

Oklahoma has seen a 939 total COVID-19 deaths since March. There have been 74,567 total cases reported in the state with 10,493 active cases and 63,135 recoveries.

Stillwater had 34 new cases reported Friday and has 352 active cases.

On Thursday, Stillwater Medical Center reported eight total COVID-19 hospitalizations. There are two ICU patients.

"I am pleading with you," Joyce said in a tweet. "Help our community keep functioning fully. Help our schools resume classes and activities. Help our hospital continue to provide high-level medical care to all who need it. You have the power to help or to harm those around you. Please choose to help."

editorinchief@ocolly.com