From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
For the first time in almost two years, the number of active Covid-19 cases in Arkansas has fallen below 1,500. Three counties in Arkansas have no active cases at all.
“Our trajectory is downward,” the state epidemiologist said on Monday.
This is wonderful news for all kinds of reasons.
It offers us a glimpse of hope, and it proves that we can overcome tremendous adversity when we work together for the common good.
Of course, any good news about Covid-19 has a bittersweet aspect. More than 11,000 Arkansans have died from the virus, while many others are coping with the virus’s lingering health effects.
The pandemic has been exhausting for doctors, nurses and hospital staff who worked long hours under tremendous pressure.
It has been extremely stressful for home health aides, nursing home staff, emergency medical technicians and others who work in health care.
It has strained the capacity of our school systems. Teachers, counselors, principals and administrators deserve our gratitude, because they adapted to difficult circumstances to minimize disruptions to our children’s education.
Many businesses were forced to close, or suffered severe financial losses. The impact on working families was devastating.
In times of trouble, churches have always been a refuge, but even our places of worship have been greatly affected.
In many churches the number of people who attend on a typical Sunday has diminished.
Like schools, many churches had to adapt to virtual gatherings. If you’re like me, there’s just something special about people coming together to worship God. Church is where you hug people.
But throughout the ordeal of the past two years, we continued to move forward.
We never gave up. We helped each other and we never lost hope.
The lessons we learned will be needed again, because according to news reports a new variant of the Omicron is on its way to Arkansas.
Public health experts are preparing for an increase in new cases.
We’ll weather the storm, because when times get tough, the people of Arkansas help each other, roll up their sleeves and get to work.
We’ve proven that over and over again.
From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator.
This is Keith Ingram.