Governor Hutchinson 1/5/2020 COVID Press Conference
> Vaccines: Category 1A (which we are in now). This category is for high priority health care workers, long term care facility staff and residents, other high priority groups (which include primary care, urgent care, college/university student health center, K-12 health clinics and school nurses, dental clinics, EMS, fire, and law enforcement who serve as first responders, pharmacies, home health, private care/personal care, hospice care, dialysis centers, corrections officers, blood donation centers).
> 180,000 Arkansans are in group 1A. The goal is to complete this vaccination category by the end of January.
> Category 1B= people who are 70 and older, frontline essential workers (teachers and school staff, food and agriculture workers, firefighters/police not in 1-A, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, child care workers, US postal service workers, essential government workers).
> Over 400,000 in category 1B (not counting essential workers). The goal is to complete this vaccination category within 60 days (about 2 months).
> Category 1C= people who are 65-69, people who are 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, essential workers (transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing, public safety, finance, IT and communications, energy, media, public health workers).
> Could be adjustments to categories 1B and/or 1C depending on availability of vaccines, acceptance rates, etc.
> How do I get the vaccine? For 1A, hospitals and pharmacies are setting up clinics and systems for distribution.
> ADEM (Arkansas Department of Emergency Management) Director AJ Gary will also work to coordinate logistics of the vaccination initiative for 1B, 1C, and general public.
> We have received 134,425 vaccines and distributed 37,884 since December 14.
> 4,107 new cases in the last 24 hours
> 24,408 current active cases (record number)
> Record high number of Arkansans hospitalized with 1,323
> 5,224 PCR tests and 3,552 antigen tests in last 24 hours
> Total of 33,334 PCR tests and 7,451 antigen tests done this month
> Top counties: Pulaski 418, Washington 399, Benton 389, Sebastian 265, Garland 232
> Hospitals are feeling the pinch with high numbers of hospitalizations
> It is up to each citizen to slow COVID down by following the 3 w’s: Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance.
> “This is not an exaggeration. The numbers are as they are”. Arkansas Department of Health Secretary, Jose Romero.
> This vaccine has been shown to be safe in all phases of research.
>Emergency funds to allow teachers to take 2 weeks of paid leave if they have tested positive for COVID, are in quarantine, or are caring for a dependent who has COVID are completely depleted. Secretary Key urges school districts to consider continuing that policy providing flexible leave. There are federal funds and grants available.