Arkansas COVID-19

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

Gretchen Hall
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Hospitality, travel, and tourism have been the hardest hit industries during COVID-19. Think restaurants, hotels, caterers, meeting facilities, trade shows and the cottage industries that support those businesses ranging from florists to event planners to lighting and banquet logistics companies.

Gretchen Hall, CEO of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, views it as the business challenge of a lifetime and the end is nowhere in sight.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Nearly 600 Arkansans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began as more than 52,000 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the state saw 626 new coronavirus cases Friday, bringing the state’s total to 52,392. Five more Arkansans died from COVID-19 for a death toll of 587.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to reopen schools for in-person instruction on August 24 continues to draw criticism from some parents and community members. Thursday, a group of close to 40 demonstrators drew 95 chalk outlines of bodies on the street outside the governor's mansion in Little Rock.

Veronica McClane, parent of a Little Rock School District 2nd grader, says the display was meant to show the potential consequences of reopening.

Governor's Office / YouTube

The number of Arkansans hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, though new cases and deaths due to the coronavirus are steadily rising.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced an increase of 652 new coronavirus cases Thursday. That brings the state’s total to 51,766, while an additional nine Arkansans died for a death toll of 582. The number of Arkansans hospitalized decreased by 13 to 473, with 112 patients on a ventilator.

walmart wal-mart
Walmart

Walmart will continue having corporate office employees working remotely through at least Jan. 31, 2021. The retail giant just marked 20 weeks of remote working amid the COVID-19 pandemic and said it has accomplished much during the unprecedented time.

Governor's Office

After announcing its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in over a month on Tuesday, Arkansas saw nearly double the number of daily cases Wednesday, bringing the total to over 51,000.

The state added 703 new cases Wednesday. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas is now 51,114.  Of those cases 6,725 are considered active, with 741 of total active cases in correctional facilities and 69 of them in nursing homes.

Pulaski County had the highest number of new cases with 78. Logan County added 47 new cases, while Sebastian County had 43.

classroom desks
http://www.nctq.org

With Gov. Asa Hutchinson mandating the reopening of brick and mortar public schools in Arkansas for in-person instruction during the week of August 24, some parents are looking at other options, like homeschooling, or one of the state's virtual charter schools.

Jennifer Chosich, who lives outside of Little Rock, has homeschooled her 8th grade daughter for her entire life. She believes interest in the homeschool network has increased over the summer.

Governor's Office

Arkansas has seen its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in more than a month as the total number of cases surpasses 50,400. 

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state added 383 new cases. Hospitalizations and those on a ventilator both decreased by one for a total of 507 Arkansans hospitalized and 116 patients on a ventilator.

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the state increased by 11 for a total of 566.

A panel of those who spoke at a meeting of the state’s Education Caucus answered questions from lawmakers about the coronavirus and its impact on the upcoming school year, which is set to begin in less that two weeks.
Sarah Kellogg / KUAR News

Objections to opening schools with in-class instruction from Arkansas teachers of the year and the Arkansas Education Association are not moving Gov. Asa Hutchinson from his stance on the Aug. 24 opening of all public schools.

Arkansas Education Association President Carol Fleming on Monday told state lawmakers she believes it is not safe for schools to open to in-class instruction. She said schools should open the 2020-2021 school year with virtual learning only.

Governor's Office / YouTube

More than 50,000 Arkansans have tested positive for the coronavirus as the state records 34 new COVID-19 deaths over the past three days.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday an increase of 645 new coronavirus cases, which brought the state’s total to 50,028, while an additional 11 deaths brought the death toll to 555.

Speaking in his daily briefing on the pandemic, Hutchinson said the state is adding fewer new coronavirus cases each day despite a sharp increase of over 1,000 positive test results last Friday.

Arkansas health officials say the state has 572 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and nine additional deaths due the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The Arkansas Department of Health on Sunday said there are 49,383 confirmed cases in the state. The death toll stands at 544.

The department says 41,452 people have recovered from the virus and there were 7,387 active cases Sunday.

The true number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has added more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day as more than 48,000 people have tested positive since the pandemic began.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the state saw 1,011 new cases Friday, bringing the total to 48,039. An additional six Arkansans died from COVID-19 for a death toll of 521.

Speaking in his daily briefing, Hutchinson said he believes the spread of COVID-19 in Arkansas is under control despite the sharp uptick.

Governor's Office

Arkansas’s health secretary believes the number of new coronavirus cases is currently at a rate where the state’s plan to reopen schools in over two weeks can still move forward. This statement comes as the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases passes 47,000.

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state added 735 new cases on Thursday. The total number of cases is now 47,028.

Governor's Office / YouTube

More than 500 Arkansans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began as the state records its fourth-highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced an additional 912 cases Wednesday. It brings the state’s total to 46,293, while an additional 18 deaths brings the death toll to 508.

Speaking in his daily briefing, Hutchinson said he’s authorized additional National Guard personnel to assist with coronavirus testing at the state’s correctional facilities.

Governor's Office

Around 27,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims and approximately 10,000 unemployment insurance claims in the state of Arkansas are currently on hold due to fraud concerns, according to the state.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said any fraudulent claims filed to the state will be turned over law enforcement and the FBI.

Governor's Office / YouTube

More than 2,000 Arkansans have tested positive for the coronavirus since last Friday as the state nears 500 deaths from COVID-19.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday the state saw 787 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 44,597. An additional 11 Arkansans died from COVID-19 for a death toll of 475.

Governor's Office / YouTube

High school football teams can begin no-contact practice in Arkansas starting next week as the total number of people to test positive for the coronavirus surpasses 42,000.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Friday the state saw 752 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 42,511. An additional 11 Arkansans died from the disease for a death toll of 453.

Governor's Office

Arkansas has lifted a directive that required all patients about to undergo an elective surgery to get tested for COVID-19 beforehand. This decision comes as almost 800 more cases of the coronavirus were recorded on Thursday.  

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state added 791 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 41,559. Of those total cases, 6,580 are considered active.

During Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily briefing on the coronavirus on Thursday, acting Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero spoke on the decision to repeal the directive.

Governor's Office / YouTube

COVID-19 continues to spread within Arkansas correctional facilities as the state adds 787 new coronavirus cases.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday’s increase brought the state’s total to 40,968, while an additional six COVID-19 deaths brought the death toll to 434. Seven additional Arkansans were hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday for a total of 508, while the state had a total of 6,596 active cases of the disease.

Governor's Office

Arkansas has recorded its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day as the total number of cases in the state surpasses 40,000.

The state saw 734 new cases Tuesday, according to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health. The total number of coronavirus cases in the state is now 40,181. Of those cases, 6,595 are considered active.

The state recorded 20 deaths from COVID-19, bring the total to 428. The number of Arkansans hospitalized with the virus is now 501 due to an increase of 12.

Arkansas Legislature

Following hours of debate, state lawmakers approved $23 million to go toward improving the Arkansas Department of Health’s efforts to track the spread of the coronavirus.

Members of the Arkansas Legislative Council on Tuesday approved two separate requests for federal CARES Act funds. One provides $7 million to the nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Council to enhance contact tracing, testing and outreach to the state’s Latinx and Marshallese populations.

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

As the coronavirus continues spreading through Arkansas, with daily records for new cases being repeatedly broken last week, more people are being tested for the virus. That’s causing longer lines at testing locations throughout the state.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences reports it’s now averaging about 500 tests being conducted each weekday at its drive-thru triage in Little Rock, an increase of about 30% since the beginning of July.

Frontline healthcare workers there say the pace is taking a toll on the staff.

Governor's Office / YouTube

More than 4,200 Arkansans have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past five days as the state’s total number of cases nears 40,000.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday the state saw 824 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 39,447. An additional seven Arkansans have died from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 408.

Speaking in his daily briefing on the pandemic, Hutchinson announced $10 million in federal funds will go toward providing take-home WiFi access points to students once the school year begins.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Even in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, construction of the new Arkansas Arts Center building in MacArthur Park is still ongoing and according to the center, on schedule. KUAR spoke with Dr. Victoria Ramirez, executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center about the continued work. Below is a transcript of the aired conversation.

npr.org

When the coronavirus pandemic first reached Arkansas in mid-March, Alma Mayor Jerry Martin took action.

“When I thought about it, it would be best for our employees to go ahead and furlough now while they could take advantage of the unemployment setup the way that it was, than to wait until September, October and us be at a place where it looked like we were going to have a hard time making payroll and paying bills,” Martin said.

SNAP supplemental nutrition assistance program
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A new report says the number of food-insecure Arkansas children and adults is rising during the COVID-19 pandemic, more Arkansans are receiving federal nutrition benefits, and the state should make policy changes such as removing the asset limit for eligibility.

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families made that argument in its new report, “Food Insecurity in Arkansas,” written by Laura Kellams, Northwest Arkansas director.

Governor's Office / YouTube

In just two days, Arkansas has seen its first and second-highest daily increases in the number of new coronavirus cases among non-incarcerated people as nearly 400 people in the state have died and nearly 500 are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Friday the state saw 990 new coronavirus cases, one day after the state saw an increase of 1,013 new cases. Friday’s increase brought the state’s total number of cases to 37,249, while an additional eight deaths due to COVID-19 brought the death toll to 394.

Governor's Office

Arkansas reported over 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday. It is the second highest number of cases recorded in the state total, and the highest recorded of non-incarcerated people.

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state recorded 1,013 daily cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 36,259. Of those cases, 7,009 of them are considered active, with 146 in nursing homes.

Currently, 14 counties in Arkansas have 112 or more active cases of COVID-19.

Jason Rapert Ten 10 Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas state senator is in the hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Sen. Jason Rapert on Thursday said in a statement provided by the Senate that he was hospitalized after being diagnosed with pneumonia and testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The statement said Rapert was responding well to treatment.

Rapert is a 48-year-old Republican who has served in the Senate since 2011. Last year he announced he was seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor in 2022.

Governor's Office

The total number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas has surpassed 35,000 as the number of hospitalizations dropped one day after reaching a new highest peak.

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state added 591 new COVID-19 cases. While this number is lower than previous days, the amount of testing also decreased. The total number of cases is now 35,246, while the total number of active cases is 6,876.

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