Merry Christmas everyone! As a reminder, all state and federal facilities will be closed on Thursday, December 24, and on Friday, December 25, 2020 in observance of the Christmas holiday. This holiday season is so different for everyone this year, but I encourage you to continue to stay safe. There are many challenges we still face as we go deeper into the festive season. I would like to encourage you and your family to remain steadfast in our community efforts to fight COVID-19 and its ravaging effects. As a continued reminder, one of the most susceptible and vulnerable times is intimate social gatherings with family and friends. Let us all continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The guidelines encourage us to take heed to only gathering with those individuals who live in our immediate households. It could stop the spread of this deadly virus and save lives. The first vaccine roll-out is here; however, we must remain diligent until we receive an undisputable “all clear”. That will not come for some time.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use for one vaccine manufacturer (Pfizer) and another that is close (Moderna) to distribution. Initially, there will not be enough vaccines for every adult but the roll-out will occur in phases with target groups. Each state has been shipped a specified number of vaccines. Frontline healthcare workers will go first followed by those who live and work at long term care facilities. The next group will include those with underlying conditions that may make them more susceptible to severe disease. There will be a limited supply in the beginning; however, we should all receive an opportunity to get vaccinated by summer.
Until then, the Arkansas Health Department (AHD) is recommending all Arkansans make a plan to be vaccinated. As of December 19, 2020, in Arkansas, COVID-19 cases have exceeded 200,000 with 3,191 related confirmed deaths. Local hospitals are reaching capacity with over 1,000 coronavirus patients still hospitalized and almost 200 of those on ventilators. Now, and more important than ever, is the time that we should all do our parts. Please wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands often, and disinfect common surfaces. You and your family are worth it.
Additionally, please continue to be watchful of the upcoming continuation of the CARES ACT. Many of our neighbors have been adversely affected by this pandemic. We may not get all the aid that will make the total difference, but there appears to be some relief on the horizon. This “might” include unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, rent and student loan payment moratoriums, aid for struggling businesses, and worker and vaccination distribution assistance. Congress is, hopefully, coming closer to bi-partisan agreement. Please be watchful so that you can take advantage of the resources that apply to you and your family.
Finally, I like to share informative items that constituents might find useful. If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me at my House of Representatives email at email@example.com or by phone at 501-682-6211. Follow me on Facebook @GloverForAR.