EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — Governor Asa Hutchinson has responded to a report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force which suggests the state should pause sports activities and limit restaurant’s capacity to 25 percent.
This repots comes out as the state has seen record number of deaths, hospitalizations and cases recorded in a 24-hour period.
“Given a change in the slope in the last two weeks post Halloween, Arkansas is on precipice of a rapid, accelerating increase in cases which will be followed with new hospital admissions. There is a limit time window to limit further cases and avoid increases in hospitalizations and deaths,” the report states.
Governor Hutchinson agreed that the virus situation is worsening in the state.
“That’s a statement that get your attention as a leader,” he said. “We have to be mindful that if Arkansas continues at the present pace over the last two days, then Arkansas will have an addition 1,000 Arkansans that will die as a result of COVID-19 between now and Christmas,” he said.
According to Governor Hutchinson’s covid report, the number of patients hospitalized increased by 34 and the number of deaths have increased by 20 though he has said he doesn’t plan to consider the suggestions made by the White house panel as some states across the country implement shutdowns to try to limit the spread of the virus.
Currently, restaurants are operating at 67 percent capacity while the White Panel suggests they scale down and operate at 25 percent.
“Businesses are already limited. If you cut that down further, you’re going to be putting a lot of them under water and a lot of people unemployed. As you can see our business grant funding is out. We don’t have any additional funding to help our business when you shut them down,” he said.
Governor Hutchinson will meet with President-elect Joe Biden this week to discuss the state’s covid situation as we prepare for transition of leadership in the White House.