Gov. Hutchinson talks COVID restrictions in schools, new military spending in Arkansas

State News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday addressed a variety of topics affecting Arkansans, including restrictions for schools recovering from the pandemic and military plans that have been initiated within the past week.

Hutchinson announced that there will be a 3 percent bonus for state employees distributed by state agencies based on performance. This is the largest performance pay bump since Hutchinson became Governor.

The bonus will go into employee’s base salary, therefore making it a recurring bonus over time.

Last week it was also announced that the F-35 training program would be set up at the Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith. This will bring 825 personnel to the river valley area with 180 of incoming personnel coming from Singapore.

With these industry moves $800 million to $1 billion will impact the River Valley area over time.

Hutchinson also announced that there will be a change in education policy with lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

The Governor said that anyone in school who has been fully vaccinated will not have to be quarantined if exposed to COVID-19.

Hutchinson stated that this will minimize education loss, minimize the disruption to the educational work force, and will allow students to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports and school concerts.

Vaccination efforts for young people was further urged with Dr. Jose Romero stating that after an initial decrease in early 2021, youth hospitalization rates for COVID-19 increased in March through April.

Now there are 926,483 fully immunized and 235,953 partially immunized Arkansans.

The ADH reported that 6,133 vaccine doses were given out over the last 24 hours.

ADH also reported 231 new cases for a total of 342,726 cases.

There are 1,656 active cases, which has seen 62 cases added from Monday. 204 hospitalized, which is up 29 from Monday, and 37 on ventilators, which is up 4 from yesterday.

Three new deaths were added today, for a total of 5,852.

The Health Department reported the top counties for new cases:

  • Pulaski, 34
  • Independence County, 16
  • Saline, 15

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