Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas COVID-19 Cases Top 700; Officials Say Cargo Capacity Needed

The leader of Arkansas’s largest academic medical center says more cargo capacity is needed to provide adequate personal protective equipment to the state’s healthcare workers. Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, made the appeal during Friday’s news conference by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who said the state currently has 704 positive cases of the coronavirus.

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Arkansas Senate President Pro Tem Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) and House Speaker Matthew Shepherd (R-El Dorado) speak on their legislative priorities during a press event Friday
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are preparing to meet again amid the coronavirus outbreak, but legislative leaders say they hope to wrap up work in less than two weeks.

Senate President Jim Hendren said Friday lawmakers will move forward as planned with the fiscal session set to begin on Wednesday.

The session is moving forward days after two House members tested positive for COVID-19.

The session will include similar social distancing restrictions to last week, when lawmakers approved a $173 million coronavirus fund. Health officials say Arkansas has had at least 687 cases.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration building in Little Rock.
KUAR News

Small indications of the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak could be showing in Arkansas's most recent revenue report. The March report, released Thursday, reflects mainly taxable transactions from February, before local and national recommendations for social distancing were widely in effect.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is again defending his policy of a more targeted approach to restricting daily life in Arkansas as the death toll from COVID-19 rises to 12 people.

Hutchinson announced the latest deaths Thursday, saying 643 people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

With over 30 states in the U.S. implementing "stay-at-home" orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, Arkansas is in the minority of states without one. However, Gov. Asa Hutchinson says a targeted approach is currently a better way for the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking live on the public radio program 1A Thursday morning, Hutchinson said targeting and closing businesses and other areas that pose a threat of coronavirus exposure is working for Arkansas at the moment.

Initial jobless claims in Arkansas for the week ending March 28 were 26,944, nearly triple the amount reported in the previous week. Jobless claims nationwide totaled 6.64 million, an increase of 3.34 million from the previous week’s revised level, according to Thursday’s U.S. Department of Labor report.

The Arkansas revised total for the week ending March 14, according to the Labor Department, was 9,275, more than six times the 1,382 in the previous week. The increase in the state’s jobless claims has skyrocketed roughly 1,850% in two weeks.

Central Arkansas Library System

While the Central Arkansas Library System’s branches are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, patrons still have access to digital entertainment, with the system planning some new events to accommodate social distancing guidelines. Some services are newer, while other have already been a part of CALS’s services.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’s asking the federal government for more ventilators as the death toll from COVID-19 in Arkansas rises to 10.

Hutchinson said Wednesday that 584 people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus, including state Rep. Reginald Murdock, D-Marianna. Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health Dr. Nate Smith said two people over the age of 65 had died from the virus since Tuesday’s briefing.

Downtown Little Rock
Wikimedia Commons

In an effort to get ahead of any negative economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, Little Rock city directors have approved a more than 2% cut to the city’s budget for the 2020 fiscal year. 

During a special meeting Wednesday, board members, many of whom were calling in through phone or video chat, voted to pass an ordinance that cuts the city’s budget by $4,928,545.

Those cuts include:

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

The death toll from COVID-19 in Arkansas rose to eight Tuesday, with the total number of coronavirus cases at 523.

This comes as state health officials and Gov. Asa Hutchinson say the state’s efforts at "flattening the curve" through social distancing appear to be working.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
File Photo

While non-essential businesses in Arkansas remain closed due to the coronavirus, state parks are still open for the public to enjoy, though some changes have been made to encourage social distancing. 

Earlier this month, the state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism announced the closures of its lodges at DeGray Lake Resort, Mount Magazine, Petit Jean and Queen Wilhelmina. That’s in addition to the closures of events at the parks and visitors centers at 13 state parks, with exceptions granted for people checking into camp grounds or cabins.

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