“If we need to do more, we will do more,” the Republican governor told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “So that’s always an option on the table if we have to shelter in place. But right now, what we’re doing proves to be successful, this targeted approach.”
Hutchinson said he does not believe Arkansas needs to issue a statewide order because of its low density in population. He pointed to his actions in declaring a public emergency when Arkansas had its first confirmed case of coronavirus, closing the state’s schools and increasing testing.
“We have masks and social distancing and the people of Arkansas have embraced that. That gives you success,” Hutchinson said, adding later, “We want to take the long-term approach to this and you’re not going to win simply by a lockdown.”
Asked if other states have made a mistake in issuing stay-at-home orders, Hutchinson replied, “Not at all. It just reflects the flexibility a state needs. I applaud New Jersey and New York. They’ve had to really lock down.”
Hutchinson announced on March 11 that Arkansas had its first confirmed case of coronavirus.
With only 80 hospitalizations among 8,000 available hospital beds, Hutchinson told CNN that the state is “beating that trend line” of projected Covid-19 deaths, and “at least flat,” if not at the peak of cases.
“There’s a lot of hope and optimism this Easter that our tough time is behind and we’re going to be getting better,” the governor said.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Allison Flexner contributed to this report.