Governor Hutchinson discusses upcoming special session and new Omicron COVID-19 variant: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson

For immediate release

Governor Hutchinson discusses upcoming special session and new Omicron COVID-19 variant

LITTLE STONE – During his weekly press briefing today, Governor Asa Hutchinson discussed an upcoming extraordinary legislative session and the new variant of Omicron discovered in South Africa.

Special session

Governor Hutchinson has announced that the special session will begin on Tuesday, December 7. The points he noted that will be discussed in this session will include the tax reduction bill.

“I spoke today with Speaker of the House and Senate Pro Tem and they have confirmed that we have more than a majority vote on tax bills to get this passed.” Governor Hutchinson said.

Other things he mentioned included moving tight reserve funds, an insulin bill, an LLC bill, an appropriation bill, a tax appeal board, and more. .

COVID-19 and Omicron variant

The governor mentioned that there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the variant, but scientists and public health officials are scrambling to find out more. The first questions right now include could the Omicron be more transmissible than other variants, and how serious could it be?

He said that with luck, the data being evaluated will tell us whether the vaccines will work well to protect against the new variant.

The governor provided an update on COVID-19 cases in Arkansas for November 30, announcing that active cases have increased by 335 and that 12 more deaths have been added. He said our new cases for Tuesday were up 1,044. He noted that this is the first time that new cases have been so high since September. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 increased by 19 and patients on ventilators also increased by 8. The governor noted that 12,969 new doses of the vaccine had been administered.

“I am very happy that 35.9% are first doses, which means over 4,000 people are starting the vaccination process for the first time,” said Governor Hutchinson, “20.7% are second doses and 43% are third doses which are all good. signs on the front of vaccination. “

Health Secretary Dr Jose Romero noted during the briefing that 30% of new cases occur in the 5-18 age group and urged vaccination of people in this age group.

“It is important that parents realize that this virus affects children, that it can have long-term consequences and that vaccines are available, and we encourage them to get their children vaccinated,” said Dr Romero.

Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key also presented a report on school cases of COVID-19. He said Monday’s report showed 705 active cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas school districts. He noted that there were around 500 fewer than last week, but due to the Thanksgiving holiday this may not be an accurate representation of active cases in schools.

You can watch the full briefing HERE.

You can see the presentation of today’s briefing slides HERE.

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