Interpreter worried after Gov. Stitt tests positive for COVID-19

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A fill-in interpreter for the hearing-impaired community is worried after Gov. Kevin Stitt tested positive for COVID-19 after she interpreted next to him.

“My family was pretty upset when we learned about the governor being positive, of course,” said interpreter Glenna Cooper. “How do we protect ourselves? It’s a hard issue.”

Video from July 9 shows Cooper standing beside Stitt closer than stated in social-distancing guidelines. She said she was filling in for another interpreter who was on vacation.

“What’s most important is that we provide access to the deaf community. That’s our top priority,” she said.

Neither Stitt nor Cooper had a mask over their faces in the video. However, Cooper said it’s crucial for the hearing-impaired community to see her mouth when interpreting.

“It’s important, the facial expressions,” Cooper said. “That’s part of the language in American Sign Language.”

Five days after she was next to him, the governor revealed his diagnosis at a news conference on July 15.

“I got tested yesterday for COVID-19 and the results came back positive,” Stitt said.

The governor and commissioner of health both insist that he was not contagious at that time.

“I would not have been contagious since before Saturday,” Stitt said.

Studies from Harvard Health show people may be contagious 48 to 72 hours before showing symptoms. Still, Cooper said she is immuno-compromised.

“I still needed to be tested either way,” she said.

Her son Jonathan said the family is hoping everything turns out OK.

“Just kind of frustrated, like worried,” Jonathan Cooper said. “Anxious to hear the results.”

Despite her concerns, Glenna Cooper still had words of encouragement.

“My biggest concern is probably him as the governor. He’s responsible for public health and our safety,” Cooper said. “We are all one big family in Oklahoma. We need to help protect each other as a family does.”

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