LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson and ADH Secretary, Dr. Jose Romero, provided an update on the state’s response to the spread of COVID-19 in Arkansas, including the latest data and information.
Governor Hutchinson started the press conference by addressing the lawsuit filed by State Rep. Dan Sullivan.
Hutchinson called it an “attack” on his executive powers and said seven of the legislators that are suing were in the session that gives authority to the executive branch to enact an order over public health back in 2018.
“When people are dying, you don’t need a delay, you need quick action. There is an emergency, and we act based on authority the Arkansas legislature has granted to me,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said legislators have the power to end the emergency, but pointed out that if the emergency ends, so does telemedicine, so does liability immunity for businesses, and so does remote learning. Hutchinson said Sullivan and those attached to this lawsuit, “have not done this because it is not supported by the majority of lawmakers.”
Hutchinson asked that lawmakers involved in the suit should release their campaign donors for transparency during this time.
With the 20 new deaths reported, one was a late report, and a nursing home in Mississippi County reported eight of the nine nursing home deaths, classifying it a “cluster.”
When Hutchinson was asked about Dr. Fauci’s comment that Arkansas is one of the states at risk of seeing a surge in cases, Hutchinson agreed with the statement and called his comments a warning.
With the University of Arkansas located in Washington County, and 80% of those cases in Washington County were ages 18-25.
Hutchinson said, “We need all of our college-aged kids to take this more seriously than the average college student takes a pandemic.”
Dr. Romero said, “We are seeing significant numbers of cases from colleges. I cannot stress enough the importance of bringing this under control now.”