LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday that he has approved an additional $45 million to purchase protective equipment for medical providers and for ventilators due to the coronavirus in the state.
The money is in addition to $30 million previously approved for protective equipment used by medical staff and others responding to coronavirus patients.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Hutchinson said the extra money will be used when the equipment becomes available as the state competes with others, including hot spots such as New York City and New Orleans, for scarce supplies.
“We can place an order (and) the Department of Defense might come in and say ‘we need that,’ or it might be New York offering a premium,” Hutchinson said.
The state is also waiving late fees on vehicle registration and tag renewal through April 16 due to the virus.
Hutchinson said there are at least 473 COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, up from 426 reported Sunday, and the number of deaths rose by one, to seven.