Arkansas COVID-19

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

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.

Governor's Office

Arkansas added just over 600 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday as the cumulative number of cases nears 71,000.

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state saw 606 new coronavirus cases. The total number of cases is now 70,731. Of those cases, 5,572 are considered active. 

Speaking during a briefing on the coronavirus, taking place Wednesday in Batesville, Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke on the northeast section of the state, which reported the highest percentage of growth of positive cases between September 6 and 12.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson showing a machine Tuesday that can conduct an antigen test. He announced Tuesday the state has received supplies to conduct 12,000 antigen tests, enough to last for the next two months.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, the Arkansas Department of Health on Tuesday reported 139 “probable” COVID-19 related deaths. The update came on the same day official death toll increased by 17 to 1,003. There were 676 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with the total now at 70,125.

Dr. Michael Cima, the department's chief epidemiologist and associate director for science, said a death is labeled as “probable” with an associated positive antigen case, or if the “underlying” cause of death is COVID-19.

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas has reported 399 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 10 more deaths from the illness caused by the virus.

The Department of Health said at least 69,449 people have tests positive for the virus since the pandemic began. The department also said an additional 21 people tested positive through antigen testing since Sunday, bringing the total number of those cases to 1,178.

The deaths reported Monday brings the state's COVID-19 fatalities to 986. Five more people were hospitalized, bringing the total to 378.

Governor's Office

One week after seeing its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases, Arkansas has again added the largest number of daily COVID-19 cases to its total since the pandemic began.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, the state tallied 1,107 new coronavirus cases. The total number of cases in the state is now 67,911. Of the total number of cases, 5,713 are considered active.

Governor's Office

Arkansas added nearly 400 new daily COVID-19 cases to its total as the cumulative number of cases nears 67,000.

The number of cases comes as Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced he will hold the final weekday COVID-19 briefing Friday and will instead switch to a weekly update or on an as-needed basis.

Speaking on the decision, Hutchinson cited a greater accessibility of COVID-19 data from the Arkansas Department of Health as one reason for the change, though fewer briefings does not mean the dangers of COVID-19 have diminished.

Governor's Office

The Arkansas CARES Act Steering Committee approved on Wednesday the spending of over $211 million in federal aid to go towards establishing or maintaining multiple programs in the state. 

The committee, which determines how federal coronavirus aid is spent in the state, approved the spending of $211,225,000, with $150 million of that approved funding to be split between the Arkansas Municipal League and the Association of Arkansas Counties.

Governor's Office / YouTube

The Arkansas Department of Health is partnering with Little Rock-based Baptist Health to boost COVID-19 testing capacity by 20%. It’s an effort to “control our own destiny” with respect to testing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday.

Gov. Hutchinson said the ADH lab has grown capacity from being able to do about 20 tests a day when the pandemic hit Arkansas in March, to now performing up to 3,000 tests a day. However, that capacity increase is not enough if the state wants to depend less on commercial labs, which often delays turnaround time on test results, Hutchinson said.

Governor's Office

Arkansans financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for aid through the federal Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWAP), as the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 66,000.

The state added 294 new coronavirus cases, bringing the cumulative total to 66,021. The state also reported 5,154 testing results in the past 24 hours. The number of those hospitalized with COVID-19 is now 409, an addition of 10. Those on a ventilator also increased by 10 for a total of 84. Nine more Arkansans have died from COVID. The death toll is now 917.

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