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 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.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking during a Thursday evening address concerning the coronavirus.
Arkansas PBS

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday used his first primetime television address while in the state’s top office to essentially repeat pleas for Arkansans to wear masks, follow other health safety rules, and be smart about holiday gatherings.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

New confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths reported Wednesday by the Arkansas Department of Health rose by 34 to 2,786. While hospitalizations and ventilator use declined, new confirmed and probable cases again topped 2,000.

Total confirmed and probable cumulative cases rose by 2,327 to 176,652, and active cases rose by 304 to 18,765. The number of hospitalizations fell by 17 to 1,064.

A report Tuesday from a coalition of Northwest Arkansas community and healthcare organizations said hospitals could be in a “tough staffing situation” if COVID cases continue to rise.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson shows a graph during Tuesday's weekly press briefing of the daily increase in hospitalizations in Arkansas.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson held the first of his planned community meetings, this one in Benton, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, after an unplanned meeting with about a dozen Arkansans who disagree with his actions.

Hutchinson met inside the Benton Event Center with elected officials, school and community leaders and a few other invited Saline County residents. Attendees were spaced far apart along tables set in a square. After brief remarks by the governor, members of the media were asked to leave.

restaurants faded rose
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new survey conducted by the Arkansas Hospitality Association shows that restaurants are still struggling as the coronavirus continues spreading through the state. According to the survey, 36% of restaurant operators believe it is unlikely they will still be in business six months from now without additional federal aid.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

COVID-19 deaths surged by 53 to 2,713, setting a new daily record, according to Monday’s (Dec. 7) report from the Arkansas Department of Health. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the deaths are a “tough reminder” of the need to wear masks and follow other health guidelines.

Total confirmed and probable cumulative cases rose by 1,118 to 172,042, and active cases fell by 693 to 18,057. The number of hospitalizations fell by 23 to 1,053.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Education Secretary Johnny Key and Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero enter Thursday's press conference at the state Captiol.
Governor's Office / YouTube

The coronavirus is continuing to spread rapidly in Arkansas, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson announcing 2,789 new cases had been reported Thursday, making it the largest one day increase since the pandemic began. He also said there had been additional 33 deaths, for a total of 2,555.

Hospitalizations – which had been reaching new highs each day this week – declined by 31 to 1,072. But the number of people needing treatment is expected to surge in the coming weeks, which will put a strain on facilities statewide unlike anything Arkansas has experienced before, Hutchinson said.

Corona
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

A White House panel says Arkansas remains in the “red zone" for new coronavirus cases and 88% of the state's counties have moderate or high community transmission of the virus.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force issued its latest findings in a report released Wednesday by the state.

The panel said Arkansas last week ranked 24th in the country for new cases per capita and 30th for test positivity. The report also said the COVID-19 risk to all Americans is at a historic high.

Arkansas' COVID-19 hospitalizations have been reaching new record highs.

Baptist Health CEO Troy Wells speaks at the state's weekly COVID-19 press briefing on Tuesday.
Governor's Office

With hospitalizations continuing to set new daily records, Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday discussed changes to the state’s trauma system to coordinate COVID-19 care, and efforts to expedite bringing teachers into the state’s beleaguered public schools.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The hits just keep coming. COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients on ventilators again set new daily records in Monday’s report from the Arkansas Department of Health. Total cases and deaths rose 38.5% and 26%, respectively, between Nov. 2 and Nov. 30.

ADH numbers show 1,063 hospitalizations in Monday’s report, a new record and up 33 over the daily record set Sunday. COVID-19 patients on ventilators rose by 16 to a new record of 201. Total cumulative known confirmed and probable cases increased Monday by 1,112 to 157,359. Total deaths rose by 32 to 2,502.

UAMS Clinical Services Manager Deborah Hutts speaks to staffer at a morning huddle before they begin conducting coronavirus tests.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas health officials report more than 1,200 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 more deaths linked to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Authorities reported 1,030 Arkansas residents were hospitalized with COVID-19 Sunday, 20 more than on Saturday. The Arkansas Department of Health says the state added 1,221 confirmed and probable cases Sunday. 

"I think about the loss to so many families and the stress on our health care workers," Gov. Asa Huthinson said on Twitter. "We have a lot of work to do between now and Christmas."

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

COVID-19 hospitalizations and ventilations hit new record highs, and the number of school districts with high community infection rates jumped from 88 to 117. Arkansas’ former Surgeon General said the state is moving “into a bad place” with respect to COVID spread.

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