Arkansas COVID-19

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

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

COVID-19 cases rose by 3,106 in Thursday’s report by the Arkansas Department of Health, well above the 2,491 on the previous Thursday. The increase ended four consecutive days in which confirmed and probable cases declined week over week.

The rise in new cases pushed the cumulative total to 279,220. The ADH also reported that confirmed and active cases rose by 227 to 20,618. The ADH also reported 68 available ICU beds as of 2 p.m. Thursday, down from 48 on Wednesday. Confirmed and probable deaths rose by 55 to 4,496.

Rep. Lanny Fite, seen here in May 2009 when he was Saline County Judge, has become the latest state legislator to test positive for the coronavirus.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Another Arkansas lawmaker has tested positive for the coronavirus. That's the third member of the Legislature to be infected since lawmakers convened this year's session last week.

Rep. Lanny Fite said Wednesday that he tested positive but has not had any symptoms. Fite said he is isolating at home and had already been quarantining since Rep. Milton Nicks tested positive last week. Fite sits next to Nicks in the House chamber.

At least 24 Arkansas lawmakers have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson shows a graph during Tuesday's press conference indicating a downward trend Arkansas has seen in recent days.
Governor's Office / YouTube

On a day U.S. COVID-19 deaths topped 400,000, new confirmed and probable cases in Arkansas continued a downward trend with 1,331 cases reported Tuesday, well below the 3,209 reported the previous Tuesday.

The Arkansas Department of Health also reported that confirmed and active cases fell by 1,854 to 20,940. Unfortunately, deaths rose by 43 to 4,386. The ADH also reported 50 available ICU beds as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, down from 57 on Monday.

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Arkansas businesses can now apply for a second round of loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.

The second set of loans from the federal program opened to businesses getting loans from lenders with under $1 billion in assets late last week, and will open for all other businesses Tuesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson getting a COVID-19 vaccine Monday at the Arkansas Department of Health.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As Arkansas began the next phase Monday of vaccinating people for the coronavirus, Gov. Asa Hutchinson pulled up his sleeve to get a shot. It happened the same day the state reported 32 additional deaths, but with a sharp decline in active cases and fewer new cases compared to previous Mondays.

The 70-year-old governor told reporters at the Arkansas Department of Health that he wanted to show he and First Lady Susan Hutchinson have confidence in the safety of the vaccine.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The week-over-week trend for new COVID-19 cases continues to trend lower in Arkansas, but hospitalizations and active cases were higher in Friday’s report from the Arkansas Department of Health.

The ADH report showed 3,124 new confirmed and probable cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 267,635. Active confirmed and probable cases rose by 873 to 25,613, and deaths rose by 35 to 4,263. Ventilator use fell by 15 to 226.

One dose of the vaccine is shown during a press conference Monday at the Arkansas Department of Health.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An estimated 443,000 additional Arkansans will be eligible to begin getting vaccinated for the coronavirus next week as the state moves into the next phase of inoculations. This group will include educators and those who are over the age of 70.

But many people are hesitant to get vaccinated because of potential side effects. UAMS said last week that among employees surveyed recently, 30% said they were reluctant to get a vaccine. Some people have also wondered if an employer can require them to get a vaccine.

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Hospitalizations, ventilator use and active cases declined in Thursday’s report from the Arkansas Department of Health, but the number of school districts with high infection rates among district residents again set a new record.

The ADH report showed 2,491 new confirmed and probable cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 264,511. Active confirmed and probable cases fell by 355 to 24,740, and deaths rose by 42 to 4,228. Ventilator use fell by 14 to 241.

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. On Monday, hospitalizations reached a new high.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As Arkansas continues to see record numbers of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the state's healthcare system is feeling the strain. 

An additional eight Arkansans were hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday, for a near-record total of 1,362. That also includes 255 total patients who are on a ventilator, an increase of four on Wednesday. 

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

While active COVID-19 cases declined, Wednesday’s Arkansas Department of Health report shows another 65 Arkansans died from the virus in the previous 24 hours.

The report showed 2,467 new confirmed and probable cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 262,020. Active confirmed and probable cases fell by 607 to 25,395, and deaths rose by 65 to 4,186.

Hospitalizations rose by 8 to 1,362. Monday’s number of 1,371 hospitalizations was a record. The ADH also reported 51 available ICU beds as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, down from 52 on Tuesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson shows a report detailing plans for vaccinating Arkansans while Col. Robert Ator, who will serve as project manager, looks on.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday said the state will accelerate vaccine availability for older Arkansans and those in education. The updated vaccine push comes as University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences modeling predicts more than 5,000 COVID-19 deaths by Feb. 28.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

COVID-19 hospitalizations reported Monday set a new record in Arkansas, rising by 31 to 1,371, according to the state Department of Health. The number of available Intensive Care Unit beds statewide fell from 44 on Sunday to 43 on Monday.

The report showed 1,268 confirmed and probable cases, bringing the cumulative total to 256,344. Deaths rose by 38 to reach 4,081. Active confirmed and probable cases fell by 1,958, to settle at 25,534.

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Business, healthcare and service industry jobs have seen the steepest downturn in Arkansas as a result of the coronavirus pandemic according to a new report by central Arkansas planning agency Metroplan.

The biannual Economic Trends and Outlook Report shows a drop of roughly 11% in leisure and hospitality jobs between April 2019 and April 2020, as well as just under 7% for education and healthcare and about 5% in business.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

With active confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases setting new records almost each day, it’s no surprise that more school districts are in high contact areas, and a record number of districts have more than 1% of residents who are infected.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to reporters during Tuesday's press briefing.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas hospitals continue struggling to handle a growing number of people needing treatment for COVID-19. On Tuesday the state reported 27 additional hospitalizations, pushing the total to another record high of 1,323.

There were also 36 more deaths for a total of 3,836. The Department of Health reported 27 of the deaths were confirmed to be from the disease caused by the coronavirus, while nine were probable deaths. There were also 4,107 new cases of people testing positive for the virus, while the number of active cases rose by 1,351 to a new record of 24,408.

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. On Monday, hospitalizations reached a new high.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

COVID-19 hospitalizations again set a new daily record in Monday’s Arkansas Department of Health report, rising by 62 to 1,296. Available ICU beds fell from 58 on Sunday to 49 on Monday. COVID deaths reached 3,800.

Also on Monday, Northwest Arkansas hospitals reported reaching a record of 128 patients in their COVID-19 units. The previous record was 122. The region has been one of the hardest hit in the state by the pandemic.

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 has hit a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: a record high of more than 4,300 new COVID-19 cases counted in a single day.

The state had 2,785 new, confirmed cases of the virus Friday and another 1,519 probable cases, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Arkansas also recorded 1,185 people hospitalized with the disease and another 35 fatalities from it.

The actual number of cases is believed to be far higher because many people haven’t been tested and some who get sick don’t show symptoms.

Governor's Office / YouTube

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson said the Little Rock hospital is adding new emergency department space in an adjacent parking deck and may double up patients in single rooms in response to the growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (at the podium) speaks with reporters during Tuesday's COVID-19 press briefing.
Governor's Office / YouTube

With hospitalizations and deaths continuing to set new daily records, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is “not satisfied with the pace” of vaccinations in the state. He also warned that the state’s hospitals will be further stressed with infections from Christmas and New Year gatherings.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Arkansas rose on Sunday to near their recent record high, as state health officials reported more than 900 new cases of COVID-19 and 41 more deaths linked to the disease.

The Arkansas Department of Health says there are 1,093 state residents hospitalized with COVID-19, 34 more than on Saturday. Those on a ventilator also increased by 13, for a total of 186.

Of the total 214,877 cases, with 908 of those cases announced Sunday, 21,454 are considered active, which is a decrease of 835 compared to Saturday’s numbers.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Daily COVID-19 hospitalizations set a record for the second consecutive day, and a report from the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement shows a record number of school districts in areas with high COVID spread.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported Wednesday that hospitalizations rose by 7 to 1,110, a new record from Tuesday’s record of 1,093. Total known cumulative confirmed and probable cases rose by 2,893 to 207,941, and active confirmed and probable cases rose by 537 to 22,516. Total confirmed and probable deaths rose by 38 to 3,376.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas continues its upward trend of COVID-19 cases and deaths as officials fear another surge related to holiday gatherings.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday the state added 1,941 new coronavirus cases as well as 43 more deaths due to COVID-19. That brought the state’s death toll since the pandemic began to 3,338, and the total number of cases over 205,000.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) on Monday reported 58 more COVID-19 deaths, with 20 of those being delayed from previous days. Arkansas health officials also on Monday received more than 24,000 Pfizer and Modern vaccines with more expected this week.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

While legislators prepare to debate the issues in the 93rd Arkansas General Assembly, a more critical debate is already underway: How to conduct a COVID-19 legislative session at the state capitol?

Unlike the fiscal session earlier this year, legislative leaders are already instituting changes that will keep the session accessible to the public, safe for participants, and within the boundaries of their constitutional duties.

French Hill
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

This story has been updated.

U.S. Rep. French Hill of Arkansas’ 2nd district said Friday he remained “cautiously optimistic” that Congress would pass a nearly $1 trillion coronavirus economic relief package. With talks moving slowly and lawmakers not able to pass a bill by a Friday midnight deadline, he joined a majority in voting to pass a two-day stopgap spending bill that night to avert a partial government shutdown.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Available ICU beds in Arkansas fell in Friday’s report to 37, down from 46 on Thursday and well below the 73 on Tuesday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Total cumulative known confirmed and probable cases rose by 2,878 to 197,421, and confirmed and probable active cases rose by 733 to 22,392. Total deaths rose by 27 to 3,139.

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

The Arkansas Department of Health on Wednesday reported 58 COVID-19 deaths, a new daily record for the tragic metric. The previous record of 55 deaths was set Dec. 11. Also on Wednesday, available ICU beds in the state fell from 73 to 64.

Total cumulative confirmed and probable cases rose by 2,306 to 191,504, and active cases rose by 84 to 20,774. Total confirmed and probable deaths rose by 58 to 3,074. Hospitalizations rose by nine to 1,079. Hospitalizations set a daily record of 1,088 on Dec. 2.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking at Tuesday's press briefing.
Governor's Office / YouTube

With in-state COVID-19 deaths topping 3,000 and cumulative cases approaching 200,000, Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said Tuesday a second vaccine – Moderna – could soon be approved and join the Pfizer vaccinations that began Monday.

A health care worker was one of four to be given the coronavirus vaccine during a press conference Monday at the Arkansas Department of Health.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

In what’s hoped to be a turning point for the pandemic, Arkansas began administering a vaccine Monday for the coronavirus. It came just hours after Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the state had received its first shipment of a vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe and four other health care workers rolled up their sleeves or exposed their shoulders during a press conference at the Arkansas Department of Health to get the shot.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

During a primetime television address delivered Thursday night, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reiterated many of the talking points he has been making for months. In a post-speech interview with Talk Business & Politics, Hutchinson expounded on what he hoped to accomplish in the speech, why he’s seeking more legislative input, what is frustrating him with the federal response, and how he’ll handle the potential for rising cases after the Christmas holidays.

The following transcript is a Q&A with Talk Business & Politics' Roby Brock.

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