Arkansas COVID-19

Reports and programming on coronavirus disease 2019 and its impact on Arkansas.

Governor's Office / YouTube

In his 200th press briefing since the pandemic began in Arkansas and on a day in which 36 more COVID-19 deaths were reported, Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday (Sept. 14) clarified his opposition to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates, saying mandates on businesses will “increase vaccine hesitancy.”

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas reported 31 more COVID-19 deaths and 646 new cases Monday.

The Department of Health said the state’s death toll from the coronavirus since the pandemic began rose to 7,298. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said 12 of the newly reported deaths Monday were delayed reports from before the previous 24 hours.

The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations dipped slightly, by five to 1,113.

Arkansas ranks 15th in the country for new cases per capita, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A military medical team from outside the state is now working alongside medical professionals at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences providing much-needed assistance, officials say. The state-run hospital and medical school has been struggling with a staffing shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Steppe Mette, chief executive officer for UAMS Medical Center, welcomed the 23-person Army team to the facility during a press conference Monday. It includes physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists.

A dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was shown to reporters at the Arkansas Department of Health on Dec. 14, 2020 just before the first doses were administered in the state.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas President and CEO Randy Zook says the business community’s reaction to a Biden executive order mandating vaccines has been "muted." He also said an upcoming legislative session to reform the tax code should include changes to the corporate income tax.

NBC News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that that federal vaccination mandates announced by President Joe Biden last week hurt efforts to overcome the public’s resistance to taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Republican governor has been notable in working to persuade reluctant Arkansas residents to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. But in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Hutchinson said that a comprehensive federal vaccination mandate “hardens the resistance.”

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday said President Joe Biden’s mandate that many private businesses require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is the wrong approach for boosting vaccination rates.

Hutchinson, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association, compared Biden’s order to a push by some conservatives to prohibit private businesses from requiring vaccinations.

For rent
Beck Harlan / NPR News

Arkansas is easing rules for its rental relief program to prioritize the funds for tenants at immediate risk of being evicted after little of the state’s share of the federal money has been spent so far.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday announced the changes to the Arkansas Rent Relief Program after asking the state Department of Human Services to review its processes surrounding the program.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking Wednesday at his weekly press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor's Office

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 2,181 new COVID-19 cases in the state Wednesday. While hospitalizations declined by 19, the number of deaths rose by 34.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during his weekly press conference on the pandemic That as of Wednesday morning, there were 23 reported intensive care unit beds available statewide for COVID-19 and general ICU. At least 10 of the available ICU beds are for COVID-19 patients. In addition, there are two pediatric ICU beds available in the state.

npr.org

Little Rock residents who haven’t been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can soon receive a $100 incentive to do so.

The City of Little Rock on Tuesday announced four upcoming vaccine clinics which will offer free Visa Reward cards to people who have not yet been vaccinated. The city will use funding from the federal American Rescue Plan and partner with U.S. Bank on the program.

File photo of Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to reporters in May.
Chris Banks / KUAR News

Arkansas on Thursday reported 34 COVID-19 deaths, pushing the cumulative total to 7,003 and above the estimated 7,000 Arkansas deaths caused by the Spanish flu in 1918-19. The ongoing “public health war” is trending toward a “strategic defeat,” said Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor and CEO of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Lines of cars with people being tested for COVID-19 stream through a garage at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences on July 13, 2020.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas on Wednesday reported a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, but the number of coronavirus patients on ventilators eased slightly.

The Department of Health said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose by 101 to 1,313, although a department spokeswoman said part of the increase included cases not included in figures released Tuesday. The state’s COVID-19 deaths rose by 35 to 6,969 total since the pandemic began.

Arkansas ranks 10th nationally in new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University research data.

Several inmates at a northwest Arkansas jail said they weren’t told a medication they were given to treat COVID-19 was actually an anti-parasite drug that federal health officials have warned should not be used to treat the coronavirus.

Three inmates at the Washington County jail told The Associated Press they didn’t know they were being given ivermectin until its use at the facility was revealed last week. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which on Wednesday repeated its call for the practice to end, said it’s also heard similar complaints from inmates.

The COVID-19 pandemic is being blamed for many people putting off routine medical procedures and screenings. One key concern for health officials is a rise in the number of men not being diagnosed with prostate cancer until they are already in the late stages of the disease.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, cabinet secretaries and health officials enter Tuesday's press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has again set a new record for COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation. While hospitalizations declined by 45 on Tuesday, the number on ventilators rose by 27 compared to the previous day, bringing the total to 388 people. It’s the second day in a row Arkansas has reached a new high.

The state Department of Health also reported 22 additional deaths, along with 2,626 new cases of people testing positive for the virus. Hospitalizations dropped to 1,212.

Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

With the new school year just getting underway, the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 continues spreading through Arkansas schools.

Data from the state Health Department and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement shows over 200 school districts with high levels of infections.

The number of Arkansas COVID-19 patients on a ventilator climbed to a new high on Monday as the state reported 33 new coronavirus deaths amid the summer surge driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

The Department of Health reported the state’s COVID patients on ventilators rose by 17 to 361, surpassing the high the state had set last week. The state’s virus hospitalizations remained unchanged from a day earlier at 1,257.

Zoom

Arkansas could lose over $100 million in federal aid for renters. On Monday, the state was identified as having one of the lowest disbursement rates for funding provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Emergency Rental Assistance program.

Over $173 million has been earmarked for rent relief in Arkansas as part of COVID-19 assistance provided directly to states by the federal government. According to Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Arkansas has distributed less than 3% of its allotment, which could expire at the end of September.

education schools
arkansas.gov

More than 3,100 active coronavirus cases have been reported in Arkansas public schools among students and employees, according to newly released numbers from the state.

Most students returned to the classroom last week — and the majority of public school students attend districts that are requiring masks. The mask requirements emerged after a judge in Little Rock temporarily blocked a state law that bans mask mandates in schools and public places.

A dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was shown to reporters at the Arkansas Department of Health on Dec. 14, 2020 just before the first doses were administered in the state.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

rkansas reported 32 new COVID-19 deaths Thursday, as the University of Arkansas said it would no longer allow its parking lots to be used for a motorcycle rally that’s drawn complaints over being held during the state’s virus surge.

The Department of Health said the state’s COVID-19 death toll since the pandemic began reached 6,806. The state also reported more than 2,300 new coronavirus cases.

Arkansas ranks fifth in the country for new cases per capita, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

The Arkansas Medical Board is investigating reports that inmates at a county jail were prescribed the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to combat COVID-19 even though it hasn’t been approved to treat the coronavirus.

Board Director Amy Embry on Thursday declined to elaborate on the panel’s investigation, which she said began in the last two days. Embry said the investigation came in response to multiple complaints related to news reports about the use of ivermectin at the Washington County jail.

Lines of cars with people being tested for COVID-19 stream through a garage at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences on July 13, 2020.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The number of Arkansas COVID-19 patients on ventilators reached another high Wednesday as a hospital urged the postponement of a motorcycle rally expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the state’s northwest next month.

The Department of Health said 354 coronavirus patients were on ventilators, surpassing the previous high set Monday. There are 1,368 COVID-19 patients in Arkansas hospitals, with 534 in ICUs.

Governor's Office / YouTube

All intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients in Arkansas are full, with those people making up roughly half of all ICU patients in the state. That’s according to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who said in his weekly coronavirus briefing Tuesday the state’s hospital capacity is at its lowest point since the pandemic began.

Speaking with reporters at the state Capitol, Hutchinson said hospitals are trying to find more bed space and staff.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announcing during a press conference Monday that he would veto a bill banning ban doctors in Arkansas from treating transgender youth with hormones, puberty blockers or surgery.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators in Arkansas reached a new high on Monday as Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he hoped the full approval of Pfizer’s vaccine would encourage more people in the state to get the shots against the virus.

The Department of Health said the number of virus patients on ventilators rose by 12 to 349, surpassing the previous high reached Saturday. The number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital increased by 42 to 1,411.

A dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was shown to reporters at the Arkansas Department of Health on Dec. 14, 2020 just before the first doses were administered in the state.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Some Arkansans may have one less reason to be reluctant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. On Monday, the  Food and Drug Administration announced it had given full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine.

Dr. Rawle Seupaul, chair of the Emergency Medicine Department at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said some have been hesitant to get vaccinated while the federal regulatory agency had only given it "emergency use authorization."

Arkansas reported 33 new COVID-19 deaths and more than 2,400 new coronavirus cases Friday as the state reached a new high for virus patients on ventilators.

The Department of Health said the state’s COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began rose to 6,614, while coronavirus cases increased by 2,407 to 431,507 total since the pandemic began.

flickr.com

On Thursday, attorneys representing the Bentonville School District filed a notice of removal in a mask mandate lawsuit against the district in an effort to remove the lawsuit from Benton County Circuit Court to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks with reporters during Thursday's press conference at the state Capitol.
Governor's Office

Three parents are suing over a northwest Arkansas school district’s decision to require face masks after a judge blocked the state’s mask mandate ban, as the state reported its biggest one-day jump in cases in seven months.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday over the Bentonville School District’s mandate argues the local school board had no authority to impose the requirement. The parents are asking a Benton County judge to temporarily block the district from enforcing the ban while they challenge it.

Healthcare workers attend to people being tested at UAMS' drive-thru triage location.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas reported 26 new COVID-19 deaths Wednesday as the state’s hospitalizations from the virus dropped slightly for the second day in a row.

The Department of Health said total deaths from the virus since the pandemic began now totals 6,565. The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped by 38 to 1,372. Arkansas’ virus cases increased by 2,685.

“These deaths are fellow Arkansans, neighbors, and friends, and they are mostly avoidable with the vaccine,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted Wednesday.

File photo of Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to reporters in May.
Chris Banks / KUAR News

Arkansas on Tuesday reported 41 more COVID-19 deaths as the number of people hospitalized from the virus dropped.

The Department of Health reported the state’s deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began now totals 6,539. The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased by 49 to 1,410, a day after the state reached a new record for people in the hospital due to the virus.

The state reported 2,203 new virus cases, bringing its total since the virus began to 422,866.

UAMS Medical Assistant Latondra Ford sticks a swab deep into the nose of a North Little Rock Police officer being tested for the coronavirus.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas reached another new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state on Monday as thousands of students headed back to school.

The state reported 46 new virus hospitalizations, bringing its total COVID-19 patients to 1,459. That surpasses the record high the state reached last week. The state’s COVID-19 deaths increased by 31.

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