Gov. Hutchinson brings back COVID-19 winter task force

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Hospitalizations are on the rise in Arkansas and Governor Asa Hutchinson has brought back the winter COVID-19 task force to help combat the issue.

The task force met for the first time since February on Thursday morning. The task force was originally created in November 2020 to help the state get through rising COVID-19 cases during the winter.

At the Northwest Arkansas Council’s annual meeting in Fayetteville, the Governor said he brought back the task force to help the hospitals.

“The fact is because there are so many other health needs that are out there the hospitals are full, that is a challenge for us,” Hutchinson said. “It’s staffing challenges, it is weariness of the healthcare workers because we have been fighting this pandemic for so long,” Hutchinson said.

According to Hutchinson, the increase in hospitalizations for non-COVID patients is adding to the problem. He said the task force will meet regularly so long as the state’s COVID-19 cases are on the rise.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, almost 40 percent of Arkansans ages 12 and older are vaccinated. Hutchinson said he thinks the state needs to keeping working to improve that number.

“We’re in a new fight with the Delta variant and we’re seeing an increase in those who want to get the vaccine because the risk has increased,” Hutchinson. “We recognize that we need to do more work.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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