Arkansas COVID-19

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

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs legislation creating COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund into law just before 1 a.m. Saturday.
Governor's Office / YouTube

The first extraordinary session of the 92nd General Assembly was rather ordinary in its business, but extraordinary in its setting.

Arkansas lawmakers wrapped up a three-day special session to create a COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund. The funding mechanism will collect money from a variety of surplus and discretionary state accounts and be available to handle special money from the federal government, if necessary.

Nate Smith COVID-19 Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas was up to 384 positive cases of coronavirus as of 5 p.m. Friday, according to the state Department of Health. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during an afternoon press briefing that projections suggest that number could increase to 2,000 cases by next weekend and 3,500 in two weeks.

"This is modeling that’s based upon what’s happened in other states, what the experts tell us. It doesn’t mean it has to happen in Arkansas, but those are the kinds of projections that we’re trying to anticipate," Hutchinson said.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The Arkansas Senate spent its first day of the special session debating and not passing an amendment to a bill that establishes a COVID-19 rainy day fund for the state.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and individual healthcare workers can expect a total of $116.3 million in payments to help with screening and care of coronavirus patients.

Hutchinson announced the funds Thursday at the State Capitol, saying a third person in the state has died from COVID-19 as the total number of cases in Arkansas rises to 335. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, that number had risen to 349.

Nate Smith COVID-19
Governor's Office / YouTube

Seeming frustrated by reports that some people in Arkansas are not abiding by social distancing recommendations, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday he is issuing a directive that will give law enforcement the power to enforce limits on gatherings.

The state has recommended people avoid indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people and keep a distance of six feet between one another during the current health crisis.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. says police can now issue citations to people caught breaking the city's extended overnight curfew from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. This comes as the city also institutes a daytime curfew for minors from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in an effort to promote social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking to reporters after a special meeting of the city Board of Directors Wednesday, Scott said there are some exceptions for the daytime curfew.

Jack Stephens Center
UA Little Rock

Arkansas legislative leaders are polling support for a single piece of legislation for a special session that would begin Thursday to fill budget holes caused by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus. During that special session, the House of Representatives will meet at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Jack Stephens Center rather than the state Capitol in order to limit close contact of legislators.

Amanda Good / Humane Society

Arkansans with pets could face additional dilemmas as the coronavirus continues to spread, including whether a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

Dr. Eric Jayne is the medical director for Spay Arkansas and a veterinarian. He says the American Veterinary Medical Association has sent out recommendations for veterinarians to follow. One of those recommendations is to suspend non-essential services such as dental check-up, spay and neuter services or other appointments that could wait.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Arkansas has experienced its first deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that two people had died, while the number of positive cases in the state has risen to 218. Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith would not provide details on how the two people who died might have acquired the virus, but said neither had traveled out of state recently and neither were from nursing homes.

Hutchinson COVID-19 coronavirus
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has had its first deaths from the coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday announced two people have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Stock Photo

As the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to rise, those involved with political petitions are finding it difficult to gather signatures.

According to the 2020 Initiatives and Referenda handbook from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, a total of 89,151 signatures are needed for a petition proposing a constitutional amendment. Furthermore, said signatures must come from 15 counties in Arkansas and be completely turned in by July 3.

Nate Smith
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state will face a $353 million budget shortfall over the next three months as it postpones the state individual income tax filing deadline to July 15.

Hutchinson announced the postponement at a press briefing Monday, where he said the number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas has grown to 174. Hutchinson said he would call a special session of the state legislature to deal with the expected loss in state revenue.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (at the podium) announcing Sunday that the number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas had risen to 165.
Governor's Office / YouTube

165 people in Arkansas have tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Sunday, an increase of 47 cases from Saturday. With testing being expanded this week, officials are warning the number will continue to rise.

44 of the cases involved people at three nursing homes in the state, according to Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith. Seniors and people with underlying health conditions are most at risk from the virus.

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

While Congress has already taken steps to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said more help will be on the way.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says as many as 1,000 Arkansans could be hospitalized due to COVID-19, with the state expected to reach its peak number of coronavirus cases within the next six to eight weeks.

"This number strains our hospitals, our medical system, and our economy and it endangers lives," Hutchinson said.

ShareAlike 4.0 International / Wikimedia Commons

Despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, long stretches of wet weather are proving to be more of an issue for farmers, but the virus is having an impact.

Jarrod Hardke, rice extension agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, says typically, this would be the beginning of the planting season for rice. However, the excess rain has complicated things.

"The overabundance of rainfall throughout the winter and early spring has the majority of our ground still unprepared for planting at this point," Hardke said.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

For the second time this week, Arkansas has seen its largest single-day increase in the number of coronavirus cases; up to 96 Friday, from 62 on Thursday.

The increase also marks the first cases reported in Benton and Greene counties, and the presence of the virus in three nursing homes across Arkansas.

Publicola / WIkimedia Commons

The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control on Thursday issued a rule allowing restaurants and microbrewery restaurants to sell beer and wine for off-site consumption with the purchase of food. However, the new rule does not include the sale of mixed-drinks.

The rule is in place for 30 days.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

The number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas has risen to 62, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday. That included people in nine counties that have not previously had positive cases.

All but one previous case were limited to people who had traveled outside of the state or had contact with those people. Without providing specific numbers, Hutchinson said more people are contracting the virus in-state.

The main campus of the University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

While the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to grow across the country and across Arkansas, seasonal illness with similar symptoms are also circulating in the state. Seasonal allergies, the flu and other illnesses that share symptoms with COVID-19 are causing some to believe they could have the coronavirus.

Dr. Robert Hopkins is the chief of the division of general internal medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He says the presence of the coronavirus has resulted in more people calling and visiting UAMS over health concerns.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Health officials say Arkansas has seen the largest single-day increase in positive test results for the coronavirus since the first case was identified last week.

Speaking to reporters at the State Capitol Wednesday Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the total number of cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas has risen to 33.

Arkansas Department of Health Director Nathaniel Smith and Gov. Asa Hutchinson speak to reporters Wednesday about the first presumptive case of the coronavirus reported in the state.
Governor's Office / YouTube

The number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas has risen to 30 and includes the first person one in the northwest corner of the state. 

The Department of Health announced the eight new cases on its website Wednesday.

Though no new presumed cases of COVID-19 were announced in Arkansas on Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said more diagnoses can be expected as the state’s testing capability grows.

Some health insurance companies, such as United Healthcare and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield have adjusted their policies to cover testing for the coronavirus for its customers. KUAR spoke with Curtis Barnett, president and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield on the changes the health insurer has made due to COVID-19. Below is the transcript from the broadcasted conversation.  

Mike Preston
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has not had a new positive case of COVID-19 reported over the last 24 hours, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced mid-morning Tuesday. It's the first day since state officials began conducting daily briefings last Wednesday that there has not been an uptick in diagnosed cases, with the number standing at 22.

But with testing for the virus ramping up, he expects the number will rise.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, surrounded by health and educations officials, gives a briefing on coronavirus Monday at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayettteville.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has six new presumptive positive cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number to 22.

Of the six new positive cases, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said two came from central Arkansas, while two others appeared in Cleburne County for the first time.

COVID-19 Education Secretary Johnny Key
Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is ordering all Arkansas schools to be closed starting Tuesday, continuing through the end of the week, to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Speaking Sunday alongside health and education officials, he also announced four new cases have been confirmed, bringing the total in the state to 16. 

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has risen to 12, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Saturday. The three new cases are healthcare workers at Jefferson Regional Medical Center and related to the original case discovered in Pine Bluff.

Hutchinson also said during Saturday’s press conference that he has authorized the Arkansas National Guard to be activated to help with logistics, call center support, transportation, EMT support and other needs.

UALR sign
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

On Thursday, the same day Arkansas confirmed a total of six presumptive cases of coronavirus in the state, several universities officially switched to online classes in an effort to curb in-person contact and the spread of the virus. Though the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has no presumed cases, it is now conducting its courses online.  KUAR spoke with University Chancellor Christina Drale about the decision. Below is the broadcasted transcript from that conversation.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Greg Bledsoe Coronavirus
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says three more people in Arkansas are presumed to have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of presumptive cases in the state to nine.

In a news conference at the Arkansas Department of Health Friday, Hutchinson said one case indicates the first instance of community spread of the virus in the state, in Little Rock.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has five new "presumptive" cases of the coronavirus, Gov. Asa Hutchinson confirmed Thursday He also announced schools are being closed in Pulaski, Saline, Jefferson and Grant counties.


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