Sanders disbands 5 Arkansas covid response groups established by executive orders

Breunna Lewis, a medical assistant for UAMS, administers a covid-19 test Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 at the Lonoke Community Center. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Friday she has disbanded five covid-19 pandemic groups and committees that were established under the previous administration.

The order disbands the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Steering Committee; the Governor’s Medical Advisory Committee for Post-Peak Covid-19 Response; the Governor’s Covid-19 Testing Advisory Group; the Governor’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Board; and the Governor’s Covid-19 Winter Task Force.

The committees, all established through executive orders by fellow Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson in 2020, are groups that advised the former governor on how to manage the covid-19 pandemic. In a statement, Sanders said her administration will “prioritize and promote other pressing public health challenges.”

“Unfortunately, government has prioritized covid-19 disproportionally and allowed other health concerns like addiction, cancer screenings, diabetes, and mental health to worsen,” Sanders said. “As governor, I will always put the health, safety, and well-being of Arkansans first.”