Arkansas COVID-19

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

An Arkansas state senator has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the 7th virus case among lawmakers in the past week. Sen. Cecile Bledsoe tested positive Sunday for the virus. That's according to Senate President Jim Hendren. Bledsoe is the late
Arkansas Senate

An Arkansas state senator has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the 7th virus case among lawmakers in the past week.

Sen. Cecile Bledsoe tested positive Sunday for the virus. That's according to Senate President Jim Hendren.

Bledsoe is the latest lawmaker to test positive in an outbreak that prompted a halt to budget hearings last week. Bledsoe co-chairs the Joint Budget Committee and the Legislative Council.

She's the mother of state Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Arkansas set another daily record Friday with 1,337 new known COVID-19 cases reported by the Arkansas Department of Health. The daily tally pushes the cumulative number of confirmed and antigen-positive cases to 104,135.

Friday’s report also included a rise in active cases, deaths, hospitalizations and ventilator use.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson urged Arkansans to avoid gatherings in which people aren’t wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

Vendors were setting up for last year's Arkansas State Fair on Oct. 8, 2019. While the fair is not be taking place this year, people can still come to the state fairgrounds this weekend to enjoy eating traditional fair favorites.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas State Fair is one of many events that have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. But an alternate event is being hosted this weekend at the state fairgrounds where people can eat their favorite fair foods.

The fair's Director of Sales and Promotions Will Hornburg said he wanted to have an event where people could come out and enjoy food, while also giving vendors the opportunity to generate business since they’ve been severely impact by the outbreak.

New daily COVID-19 cases again topped 1,000 in Thursday’s report, and the number of public school districts in “red zones” rose to 42, up from 26 a week earlier, according to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI).

Governor's Office

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has surpassed the 100,000 mark as the state added over 800 cases Tuesday. 

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state added a total of 844 new coronavirus cases, with 628 of them confirmed and 216 probable. The cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas is now 100,441.

During his weekly briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Asa Hutchinson also announced that he was limiting meetings and appearances after a possible exposure to the coronavirus during a meeting last Friday.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Arkansas saw its highest-ever single-day increase in new coronavirus cases Thursday with 1,278 people testing positive. 

The surge was followed by a second day of more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in the state, with 1,015 positive test results recorded on Friday. 

Both increases bring the state's total number of COVID-19 infections to 97,539, with 8,609 cases considered active. The state's death toll from the disease has risen to 1,665 resulting from 11 new deaths on Thursday and 20 on Friday. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announcing Wednesday that Arkansas will be able to expand testing for the coronavirus as it acquires a large number of Abbot BinaxNOW rapid antigen test kits.
Governor's Office

Arkansas is getting a large supply of antigen test kits which will greatly expand the screening of individuals who are in positions that put them at a high risk of catching the coronavirus.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday that the state has received 100,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests and will get an additional 50,000 per week until it reaches a planned allotment of 900,000. The test kits provide results within 15 minutes, which will allow health officials to take a new approach to screening.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen
Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a group of Republican legislators seeking to invalidate a mask mandate and other restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday ruled that the directives issued by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's administration are within the governor's authority under state law and legislative rules.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson having his temperature checked as a COVID-19 precaution last week before going into a cabinet meeting.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

COVID-19 hospitalizations jumped above 600 in Monday’s report from the Arkansas Department of Health. The number of active cases and Arkansans on ventilators also rose, with total known cumulative cases topping 93,000.

Hospitalizations rose by 32 to tally 608. The number of total cases – those confirmed by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and antigen tests – was 93,487 on Monday, up 654 from Sunday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement that the rising number of people in hospitals is straining the system, but that hospitals around the state have enough beds.

A record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arkansas is putting a strain on the state’s supply of convalescent plasma, one of the few treatments available for critically ill coronavirus patients.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday a total of 547 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number seen since the pandemic began. The state also saw its highest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases with 1,265 people testing positive.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson meeting with cabinet secretaries at the Department of Corrections office in North Little Rock.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas set a new daily record Thursday for the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus. At a meeting of cabinet secretaries in North Little Rock, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said 1,265 people had tested positive in the previous 24 hours. 1,066 of those cases were confirmed through PCR tests, he said, while 199 were probable cases using the less reliable, but quicker antigen tests.

Deaths rose by 21 people, the Department of Health reported, reaching 1,503. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 also reached a new high for the third day in a row.

Governor's Office

The Arkansas Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act Steering Committee approved over $25 million in allotted federal spending to go to programs addressing food insecurity, suicide prevention for veterans and others.

The committee, which met for the second day in a row on Wednesday, authorized the spending of about $27.3 million of federal funds.

Fred Miller / University of Arkansas

A new grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will go towards an Arkansas research project looking into ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 in restaurant settings.

Food scientist Dr. Kristen Gibson with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will lead the multi-institution research project, with help from the $987,000 grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Gibson says the goal is to see which surfaces commonly found in restaurant dining rooms put customers at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson showing a graph during Tuesday's press briefing showing hospitalizations reached an all-time high in the state.
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that the COVID-19 outbreak in the White House has caused Arkansans to be more serious about the virus and has encouraged Arkansans to “never forget the virus that continues to be part of this emergency and the reason for it.”

New known COVID-19 cases were lower than in recent days in Monday’s (Oct. 5) report from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), but the rise in deaths, hospitalizations and ventilator use elicited a response from Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

“Today we are reminded that more cases leads to increased hospitalizations. The number of hospitalized is too high. While it is manageable, it’s important to slow the spread of this virus to keep people out of the hospital because of COVID-19,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement.

Lines of cars go through a triage center Monday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock for people to be tested for the coronavirus. A spokeswoman says the average wait time has been three to four hours, with about 500 people tes
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas health officials reported another 488 cases of COVID-19 Sunday while the number of deaths due to the illness caused by the coronavirus rose by 18.

There are now 1,425 reported deaths, 1,278 confirmed and 147 probable, due to COVID-19, according to the Arkansas Department of Health, up from 1,407 Saturday.

The department reported 83,306 confirmed cases of the virus and another 3,707 probable cases Sunday, compared to 82,851 confirmed and 3,674 probable cases a day earlier. There are 1,424 active, according to health officials.

409 Arkansans died in September from COVID-19, according to figures from the Arkansas Department of Health, with the number of known cumulative cases rising more than 31% and the number of active cases up more than 26% in the month.

There were 1,223 COVID deaths in Arkansas on Sept. 30, up 50.2% from the 814 deaths on Sept. 1. There were 80,610 cumulative cases on Sept. 30, up 31.07% from the 61,497 on Sept. 1. The number of active cases was 6,373 on Sept. 30, up 26.5% from 5,036 on Sept. 1.

Governor's Office

The cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has now surpassed 80,000 as the state added over 400 confirmed cases Tuesday.

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state added 706 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. 482 of them are confirmed, while 224 are considered probable. The total number of confirmed cases is 80,003. Adding probable cases increases that total to 82,755.

Atkins School Superintendent Jody Jenkins died Tuesday morning from COVID-19, the district announced.
Atkins School District

An Arkansas school superintendent died Tuesday from the illness caused by the coronavirus, as a White House task force said the state continued to have one of the highest rates of new virus cases in the country.

The Atkins School District announced that Superintendent Jody Jenkins died due to complications from COVID-19. Jenkins, 57, announced on Sept. 13 that he had tested positive for the virus and had been hospitalized for the past several days.

Participants in Issues That Matter: On the Ballot and in the Voting Booth.
YouTube

In the latest Issues That Matter, a series of presentations by KUAR, the Central Arkansas Library System, and the League of Women Voters of Pulaski County, a discussion about statewide proposals to be decided by Arkansas voters in the November election. We also talked about Election Day concerns about voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This forum was streamed live online on Sept. 17, focusing on the three remaining proposals to be considered by Arkansas voters:

Little rock school district
KATV-Channel 7

The Little Rock teachers union says its members won't show up for in-person classes due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus in schools.

The Little Rock Education Association said Sunday its members are willing to teach classes virtually, but accused district administrators of not doing enough to prevent the virus's spread.

The superintendent of the state-controlled district said it was taking additional steps to ensure schools stay open for in-person instruction.

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

For the second day in a row, new COVID-19 cases totaled more than 1,100, with the cumulative number of confirmed and probable cases approaching 80,000, according to Friday’s report from the Arkansas Department of Health.

The state reported 796 traditional PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 338 positives from antigen tests for a total of 1,134. The state reported 1,193 total cases on Thursday. The number of total cases as of Friday from PCR and antigen tests was 79,946, with the number of confirmed and probable deaths totaling 1,266.

Governor's Office / YouTube

The group tasked with disbursing the $1.25 billion Arkansas received from the CARES Act has approved new funds to go toward stabilizing the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

Members of the state CARES Act steering committee on Friday voted to approve the infusion of $165 million from the federal coronavirus bailout to the fund at a meeting held virtually. This comes as the panel faced a deadline of Sept. 30 to stabilize the fund, otherwise employers would have to pay an extra $10 per employee per year in taxes.

Nate Smith COVID-19
Governor's Office / YouTube

The number of new coronavirus cases reported in Arkansas Thursday was 1,193, with 1,030 of those being from the traditional PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and 163 were positives from antigen tests, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Thursday’s report also included a rise in deaths, active cases and ventilator use. The number of people hospitalized fell.

As he did with Wednesday’s report of increased cases, Gov. Asa Hutchinson followed Thursday’s report by encouraging Arkansans to do more to contain the spread of the virus.

Governor's Office

The state’s CARES Act Steering committee has approved an additional list of items that that would be pre-approved for Arkansas’ cities and counties to use CARES funding for.

This approval comes after a meeting earlier in the month that authorized $150 million to be split evenly among the Arkansas Municipal League and the Association of Arkansas Counties.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson shows a graph with the number of Arkansans hospitalized with COVID-19 since March.
Governor's Office

The rate of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continues to increase as Arkansas added 486 new confirmed cases Tuesday, bringing the cumulative total to 74,772. Of those cases, 6,188 are considered active, according to the state Department of Health.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased by 12 for a total of 459. 12 more people have died from the disease caused by the coronavirus, bringing the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 1,060.

UAMS Medical Assistant Latondra Ford prepares to stick a swab into the nose of a man going through the hospital's drive-thru triage location on July 23.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas reported 15 more confirmed deaths Monday from COVID-19, along with one additional “probable” death.

The state Department of Health said Monday that brings the total number of confirmed deaths since the pandemic began in March to 1,048. Including probable cases, the state death toll rises to 1,197.

The number of new cases of people confirmed Monday to be infected with the virus was 596, for a total of 74,286.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is scheduled to give his weekly press briefing on the pandemic Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

Lines of cars go through a triage center Monday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock for people to be tested for the coronavirus. A spokeswoman says the average wait time has been three to four hours, with about 500 people tes
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting the number of coronavirus cases increased by 549 in the state while the number of deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the disease, stayed the same.

On Sunday, the health department reported there were 73,690 confirmed cases of the virus, up from 73,141 cases reported on Saturday.

The number of deaths remained at 1,181, the figure reported on Saturday. The number of deaths includes both confirmed and probable cases.

Arkansas Unemployment
Stock Photo

Arkansas’ unemployment rate ended its decreasing trend in the month of August, increasing by .3%. The current unemployment rate in the state is now 7.4%

According to data produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Arkansas’ unemployment rate remains lower than the national rate, which totaled 8.4% in August.

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

The Arkansas Department of Health on Thursday reported more than 1,100 new COVID-19 cases, with 223 of those coming from antigen testing. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the increased testing will help the state “reduce the spread of the virus.”

The report shows a record 9,656 tests, with 7,910 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests – the more accurate testing process – and 1,746 antigen tests. The testing results showed 883 new known COVID-19 cases and 223 positive antigen tests for a combined 1,106 positive cases.

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