WATCH: Russian invasion, COVID numbers focus of governor’s weekly briefing
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s weekly briefing began Friday with him pledging his support for Ukraine following this week’s invasion by Russia.
“The United States needs to be clear in its unequivocal support for Ukraine,” the Arkansas governor said. “We need to be clear in our condemnation of Russia, and we must impose the most severe sanctions that are available.”
Following his remarks on the Russian invasion, Hutchinson touched briefly on the recent ice storm.
“We actually came through the winter storm very well as compared to what could have happened,” he said. “The counties most severely impacted have been Cross, Crittenden, Lee, Monroe, St. Francis, and Woodruff.”
The governor noted those counties had been hit the hardest with downed trees and power lines, adding that 28,000 Arkansans remained without power.
“Our utility companies have been working very hard to bring customers back online,” he said.
Hutchinson added that now that the winter storm has subsided, the National Guard mission will be terminated as of noon Friday.
On Wednesday, he called up more than 80 guardsmen to patrol state highways and interstates to assist stranded motorists.
“They were very instrumental in being pre-positioned,” he said. “They rescued about a dozen motorists.”
Turning to COVID-19, Hutchinson said he had spoken to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is expected Friday to release new federal mask-wearing guidelines.
“I have advocated for probably a month for the United States to move away from the pandemic state into a more normal state of operations and management of infections related to COVID,” the governor said.
Meanwhile, the latest report from the Arkansas Department of Health revealed the following numbers since Tuesday, Feb. 22:
- Total cases: 817,798 (+1,630)
- Active cases: 7,500 (-1,470)
- Deaths: 10,381 (+76)
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