Arkansas COVID-19

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

Governor's Office / YouTube

With record numbers of active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Arkansas is lifting more restrictions on businesses put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday the state will move to Phase Two of the Trump Administration’s “Opening Up America Again” plan on Monday, June 15. This comes as an additional 288 Arkansans tested positive for the virus, while four more residents died from COVID-19.

Derick Coley and his daughter Adaisyah
Family photo

The largest outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has been at a state prison in Lincoln County. 11 people confirmed to have the disease at the Cummins Unit have died. One of them was 29-year-old Derick Coley of Magnolia, who died on May 2.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Over 300 Arkansans have tested positive for the coronavirus for a fourth consecutive day as the state’s total caseload surpasses 10,000.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday the state saw 340 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 10,080. Six more Arkansans also died from COVID-19 for a death toll of 161.

The Cummins Unit in southeast Arkansas has been the state prison hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
KATV-Channel 7

This is the first of a three-part series on the coronavirus outbreak in Arkansas prisons, supported by the National Geographic Society’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists.

As the coronavirus pandemic has swept through Arkansas during the last three months — nearly 1,200 inmates in four of the state’s prisons have tested positive for COVID-19. At least 134 staff working at eight state prisons have also tested positive.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Over 1,000 people in Arkansas have tested positive for the coronavirus over the past three days, officials reported, as the state’s total caseload nears 10,000.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday there were 314 new coronavirus cases from Sunday to Monday, raising the number of people who have ever tested positive to 9,740. One additional death from COVID-19 brought the state’s total to 155.

Downtown Little Rock
Wikimedia Commons

The City of Little Rock has announced an initiative that allows restaurants that want to temporarily expand their outdoor dining availability due to the coronavirus pandemic to do so.

In a news conference Friday, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said the city should give restaurants a greater flexibility on where they can place tables for outdoor dining.

"So what that basically means is this dine-out initiative is the allowance of more tables at restaurants’ parking lots, sidewalks and lawns in a very socially-distant way," Scott said.

Governor's Office / YouTube

State health officials are asking for more help tracking the COVID-19 outbreak as Arkansas sees over a week of consecutive triple-digit daily increases in new coronavirus cases.

Arkansas’s total number of people to test positive for the virus rose by 226 Friday for a total of 8,651, while the state’s death toll from COVID-19 rose by one to 152. An additional 10 coronavirus patients were hospitalized Friday for a total of 147.

Arkansas Department of Health

The northwest region of Arkansas continues to lead the state in new cases of COVID-19 as the total number of cases has surpassed 8,400.

According to the state Department of Health, Arkansas added 358 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 8,425. Of those new cases, 2,355 are considered active. 151 people have died from the coronavirus in the state, an increase of nine.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Nearly a quarter of all people who’ve contracted COVID-19 in Arkansas tested positive for the disease in the past week according to the state Department of Health. This comes as the number of Arkansans hospitalized with the disease again rose to an all-time high at 138.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the state saw 249 new coronavirus cases Wednesday and six more deaths from COVID-19. That brings the state’s total cases to 8,067, and total deaths to 142.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Coronavirus activity continues to rise in Arkansas as the state sees another record increase in new infections.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the uptick of 375 new coronavirus cases Tuesday and three additional deaths from COVID-19. Those increases bring the state’s total number of cases to 7,818 and deaths to 136.

The increase in new cases marks the third time in less than two weeks the state has seen a record uptick in non-incarcerated Arkansans testing positive. Arkansas also saw peaks in infections among the general public on May 20 and May 27.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Over 650 Arkansans have tested positive for the coronavirus since last Friday as the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 rises to 121.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday the state saw 190 new coronavirus cases since Sunday, bringing the total to 7,443. No new deaths from COVID-19 were reported with the state’s death toll remaining at 133.

Speaking during his daily briefing on the pandemic in Rogers, Hutchinson said the resurgence in cases means the state will not move to a second phase of easing restrictions on businesses in the near future.

Little Rock Farmers Market
littlerock.com

Despite new regulations and restrictions due to COVID-19, some farmers markets are still opening up for the season, though many are making adjustments.

According to information from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, 69% of the state’s farmers markets plan to open or already are open for the season. That number is based on a survey of the state’s farmers market operators.

The survey also concluded 56% of market operators surveyed said they plan on limiting the number of customers allowed, while 33% plan to have fewer vendors.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

On Monday, June 1, the Arkansas State Capitol will re-open to the public, but not without new restrictions. Chris Powell, a spokesman for the Arkansas Secretary of State office, which oversees the Capitol grounds, says that visitors will be asked "basic questions, based on recommendations from the Department of Health, about things like fever, sickness, and travel" as they enter the building in an effort to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 within the building.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has seen a second day of over 200 new coronavirus cases as COVID-19 hospitalizations surpass the state’s previous peak in April.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Friday that 239 people tested positive for the virus, bringing the state’s total caseload to 6,777. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized rose to 113, while seven more Arkansans died from the disease for a total of 132.

While the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services’ website where residents can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, is up and running, investigations are still ongoing over a past vulnerability in the site that left the financial data of thousands of Arkansans unprotected in mid-May.

KUAR spoke with Lindsey Millar, editor of the Arkansas Times about breaking the story of the flaw in the website and what followed. Below is the transcript of the edited interview that aired on KUAR.

Arkansas Department of Health

The upward trend of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas’s Latino population continues as more than 40% of the state’s daily increase in new cases came from the state’s Latino communities.

Arkansas saw a rise of 261 new cases Thursday bringing the state’s total number of coronavirus cases to 6,538, according to the state Department of Health. Of those new cases, 110 were in Arkansas’s most northwest counties, with Benton County reporting 85 new positive test results and Washington County reporting 25.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas is nearing a second peak of the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients as 120 people have died from the disease.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday the state saw 97 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 6,277. There was one additional death.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Coronavirus cases are on the rise among members of Arkansas’s Hispanic population as the state appears to be on track to reach a second peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday the state saw an additional 151 coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 6,180. Two more Arkansans died from COVID-19 bringing the state’s death toll to 119.

Bumble

Some Arkansans are finding ways to date new people without risking spreading the coronavirus. KUAR spoke with three people who've tried to maintain a social life while practicing social distancing. The names used in this report are pseudonyms.

Daniel, Victor and Sharon, all in their early to mid-thirties, take official warnings regarding the coronavirus seriously. Despite that, they are among the many who haven't given up on dating during the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Arkansas paid tribute to members of the military Monday who have died in the line of duty. Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke at a Memorial Day service at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock which was not open to the public, but streamed online.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Another 160 known community cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday, with 27% of those in Northwest Arkansas. Of the cases found since March 11, 13.4% have been in the past three days. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Saturday during his COVID-19 briefing the state is in a second peak of positive cases. The first peak was around April 25.

“It’s clear and evident to me … we’ve had a deep dip and then we’re having a second peak right now and they’re really about 30 days apart,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has added 154 new coronavirus cases to its total following a record increase Thursday with three more deaths from COVID-19 bringing the state’s number of deaths to 113.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the uptick at a press briefing Friday, saying the state has 5,612 total cases of the coronavirus with 1,470 considered active and 81 people hospitalized.

Hutchinson said certain factors, like the average positivity rate for coronavirus tests, point to the state being able to move to a second phase of lifting restrictions over the summer.

One in 10 Arkansans are currently unemployed as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the state’s economy. 

According to the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, Arkansas’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 5% in March to 10.2% in April.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has seen the largest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began as three more deaths from COVID-19 brings the state’s death toll to 110.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday the state saw 455 new positive test results for the virus, bringing the total number of people who have ever tested positive to 5,458.

Speaking in his daily briefing on the pandemic, Hutchinson said he would not reinstate business restrictions because of the increase.

Arkansas Department of Health / Facebook

Five more Arkansans have died from the disease caused by the coronavirus as the state’s total number of cases reaches 5,003.

Officials with the Arkansas Department of Health on Wednesday said four nursing home residents were among the state’s latest COVID-19 deaths, while 1,044 cases remain active.

Speaking during a press briefing at the Health Department, Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said Wednesday’s increase of 80 new cases was dispersed fairly evenly across the state.

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansans seeking a test for COVID-19 now have more options to find one as the Arkansas Department of Health has expanded its testing ability to its Local Health Units, located across the state.

The expansion, which began on Monday, means testing is now available at around 70 of the state’s local health units. The list of health units providing testing can be found here.

Governor's Office / YouTube

The number of new coronavirus cases in Arkansas communities has increased for a fourth consecutive day as the state nears 5,000 people who have tested positive.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that Arkansas saw two new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 102, while the total number of coronavirus cases has risen to 4,923.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the last businesses still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic can soon reopen even as the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Arkansas reached 100 on Monday.

This comes as Hutchinson says the Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing a possible security breach of the state’s online system for self-employed Arkansans to file for unemployment benefits.

Participants in this month's Arkansas 2020 Complete Count Committee meeting discussed efforts being done in different regions of the state to encourage participation in this year's census.
Arkansas Citizens Access Network

As COVID-19 has disrupted plans and normalcy for workplaces, schools and public life over the last few months, it also brought a halt to long-discussed outreach efforts in Arkansas for the U.S. Census. But as businesses reopen, so too resumes a campaign to get residents to participate.

In 2019, Gov. Asa Hutchinson created the 2020 Complete Count Committee in an effort to maximize the accuracy this year. The committee, chaired by Fort Smith Mayor George McGill, is working to increase awareness of the census across the state.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Officials say a state program that was created to process unemployment applications in Arkansas for self-employed individuals or gig economy workers appears to have been illegally accessed and has been shut down.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Saturday an applicant for the program is believed to have somehow accessed the system, prompting an investigation of a possible data breach. The probe will determine if any personal data from applicants was obtained.

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