Governor Hutchinson lauded the rollout of vaccine during his weekly coronavirus briefing today.

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But he acknowledged it is too soon to look for improvement in the virus’ spread in Arkansas, as a chart with the expanding death toll illustrated. The death toll today, 24, again exceeded the November average. Also, 2,141 new cases on only 12,000 tests was not an encouraging sign.

Health Director Jose Romero again recommended reconsidering conventional Christmas holiday activities — avoiding travel and gatherings, for example

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The daily COVID-19 count:

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Other topics

The governor said a plan to allow for the transfer of COVID patients had been firmed up.

Education Secretary Johnny Key again talked of how well the state was doing in maintaining in-person instruction, with a relatively small number of districts forced to switch schools to remote learning. Coincidentally, the North Little Rock School District announced about the same time that all grades 7-12 would go virtual through the end of this year because of the spread of the virus in the community.

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Q&A

Questions covered ICU capacity (near full, but manageable so far); the governor’s talk of new limits on indoor gatherings (still being studied); questions about the sufficiency of contact tracing in determining where cases arise (they’re doing the best they can);  his desire for a committee of the whole meeting of the legislature at which he’d ask for a vote of confidence in his executive decisions on COVID response (waiting for their response on a time); priority for the vaccine after health workers and nursing home residents (still being worked on).