LITTLE ROCK – With the approval of the General Assembly, Governor Asa Hutchinson has allocated an additional $45 million to the $30 million he authorized earlier for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators for health care professionals and first responders as they test and treat patients who have contracted COVID-19, he announced at a news conference today.
The $45 million is being allocated from the new COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund, which the state legislature established in the recent extraordinary session of the 92nd General Assembly.The Governor previously authorized the release of $30 million for the purchase of PPE that, combined with the additional $45 million, raises to $75 million the funding for the procurement of PPE. This funding will help Arkansas meet the need for PPE and ensure that Arkansas health care workers have sufficient supply of protective gear. In addition to the procurement of PPE and ventilators, there are additional funds that can be used for a social distancing media initiative. “Our health care workers are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I have no higher priority than ensuring that they have the protection they need as they test and treat Arkansans. This funding will allow Arkansas to better compete in the worldwide marketplace and secure the necessary equipment to keep Arkansans safe.”In a second announcement at today’s news conference, Governor Hutchinson issued an Executive Order that created the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Steering Committee (Arkansas CARES Act Steering Committee).The steering committee is composed of fifteen members appointed by the Governor, six of whom are members of the General Assembly. The committee will identify the needs of the state and make recommendations to the Governor for the best use of the federal CARES Act funding.Read the Executive Order HERE.