Arkansas BCBS CEO says he supports governor's declaration of new pandemic emergency

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Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Curtis Barnett said the company is supportive of Gov. Asa Huthinson's declaration of a new pandemic emergency, ABC affiliate KATV reported Aug. 1.

The declaration comes as COVID-19 cases related to the delta variant have spiked across the state. 

Mr. Barnett also said he agrees with the governor's call for a session to address a new law prohibiting mask mandates. Mr. Hutchinson would like to amend the restriction so that school boards can decide themselves if children under 12 that do not qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine should wear masks in classrooms.

"We're very supportive of what the governor outlined this week," Mr. Barnett said. "I think what it does, it puts our priority clearly where it needs to be, which is on our children."

Blue Cross Blue Shield is Arkansas' largest health insurer, according to KATV

Less than 50 percent of the state's residents are vaccinated, the news outlet said.

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