Arkansas COVID-19

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

Arkansas Unemployment
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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.

University of Central Arkansas.
www.uca.edu

University of Central Arkansas President Dr. Houston Davis credits an early start on planning for COVID-19 as well as a rapid response in testing turnaround for controlling the coronavirus on his college campus in Conway.

Davis, who was installed as UCA President in 2017, said this challenge is unlike anything he’s ever dealt with in his decades in higher education.

“We’re roughly three weeks into residential operation at this point, and the top two things that we expect of students are to wear their face coverings and keep distance,” Davis said. “We have 3 million square feet of facilities on the UCA campus, and every square foot of those facilities have been reset with social distancing in mind. That’s from classrooms all the way through a mechanical room.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

While Labor Day traditionally celebrates the legacy of trade unions and the larger labor movement in the United States, some union members in Arkansas say they’re not being afforded proper protections by the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees’ National VA Council held a socially-distanced protest in North Little Rock on Monday calling for a new contract between workers and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansas has added more than 1,500 new coronavirus cases in the past three days as more than 900 Arkansans have died from COVID-19.

The Arkansas Department of Health said on Saturday it received an additional 515 positive coronavirus test results, and another 687 Sunday. An increase of 350 new cases Monday brought the state's total to 65,727. 

Governor's Office

Arkansas has recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases to date, as the total number of coronavirus cases in the state surpasses 64,000.

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state added 1,094 new cases to its total. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the state is now 64,175. While Friday’s number of daily cases is a state record, Arkansas also added the 11,254 testing results in the past 24-hour period, which is the largest total number of test results reported.

Governor's Office / YouTube

A disproportionate number of new coronavirus cases in Arkansas appear to be coming from universities, with the governor and health secretary imploring students to avoid socializing during the coming Labor Day weekend.

The Department of Health announced Thursday an additional 969 people had tested positive for the virus. Washington County – home to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville – had the highest number of new cases, with 211 reported. Of those, 81% were people between the ages of 18 and 24.

Governor's Office

The Arkansas death toll from the coronavirus is now over 800 as the state has recorded almost 61,500 cumulative COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

The Arkansas Department of Health added 273 new COVID-19 cases to the state’s total, which is now 61,497. Of those cases, 5,036 are considered active. The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 increased by three for a total of 423.

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Arkansas. Data shows fewer men are getting regular prostate screenings, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s a concern for health officials because if detected early, prostate cancer is survivable.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Nearly 60,000 Arkansans have tested positive for the coronavirus as the state saw another triple-digit spike in new cases on Friday.

In his daily briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced 838 new cases, bringing the state total to 59,583. An additional 17 Arkansans died from COVID-19 for a death toll of 756. 

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

With the coronavirus continuing to spread in Arkansas, the number of people wanting to vote by absentee ballot has risen sharply compared to the last presidential election year.

In Pulaski County, 10,039 registered voters had requested an absentee ballot as of Thursday, according to the office of Pulaski County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth. At this point in 2016, there were 1,545 requests, an increase of 550%.

Governor's Office / YouTube

For the first time since the pandemic began, Arkansas is releasing the number of students, teachers and staff of the state’s schools and colleges who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced an increase of 722 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 58,745, while an additional seven COVID-19 deaths brought the death toll to 739.

Governor's Office

Arkansas’s governor has declared a state of emergency concerning Hurricane Laura as the state announced its second highest number of new deaths from the coronavirus.

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state added 649 new cases, bringing the cumulative number to 58,023. The number of active cases is currently 5,390. Over the past 24 hours, the state recorded 4,378 tests.

Governor's Office

The number of Arkansans who have died from COVID-19 has surpassed 700, as the state records its lowest day of test results in months. 

The state added at total of 480 new COVID-19 cases, according to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health. The total number of cases is now 57,374. Of those cases, 5,312 are considered active. Pulaski County added the highest number of new cases with 80. Faulkner County recorded 41 new cases while Sebastian County added 38

Governor's Office / YouTube

Nearly 700 Arkansans have died from COVID-19 as schools across the state reopen for in-class instruction.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced an increase of 320 new coronavirus cases , which brought the state’s total to 56,894, while an additional nine deaths from COVID-19 brought the death toll to 696.

Speaking in the governor’s daily briefing on the pandemic, Education Secretary Johnny Key said the state aims to keep schools open for in-class instruction even with high levels of virus activity in the general public.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has seen its largest single-day increase in deaths due to COVID-19 while nearly 900 more Arkansans have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the state saw 887 new cases Friday, the fourth-highest daily increase in new cases since the pandemic began. The state’s death toll increased by 22 for a total of 663.

Speaking in his daily briefing on the pandemic, Hutchinson said both sharp increases come after days of lower daily upticks in new cases and deaths.

Governor's Office

Arkansas added over 500 new coronavirus cases Thursday as the start date for schools is set for Monday, fewer than five days away.

The state saw 549 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 54,765. Of those total cases, 5,666 are considered active according to the state Department of Health.

The number of hospitalizations in the state neither increased nor decreased, staying the same at 499. 10 more Arkansans have died from the coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 641. 

Governor's Office

Arkansas is submitting its application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order for qualified Arkansans to receive $300 a week in Enhanced Unemployment Compensation. This announcement comes as the state added over 700 new coronavirus cases to its total.

Speaking during his daily briefing on the pandemic, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said though the state legislature approved of the unemployment compensation Tuesday through a peer review and said funding still needs to go through the Legislative Council, it was important to apply early.

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

New COVID-19 modeling from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences estimates daily infections will be “significantly lower” by Oct. 6 if public schools open with virtual learning only. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said schools will open Aug. 24 with in-class instruction.

The modeling update based on numbers as of Aug. 14, predicts 3,000 new daily infections by Oct. 6 with virtual learning only, 5,500 daily infections with a hybrid of virtual and in-class instruction, and 8,000 daily infections if all classes are in person.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Arkansas are on the rise as 16 more Arkansans have died from the disease.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced an increase of 410 new cases brought the state’s total to 53,487, while the additional COVID-19 deaths brought the death toll to 619.

Speaking in his daily briefing on the campus of Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville Tuesday, Hutchinson said he’s confident the state is completing enough coronavirus tests despite delays due to a nationwide shortage of testing supplies.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

More than 600 Arkansans have died from COVID-19 as K-12 students prepare to go back to school in one week.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the state saw 412 new coronavirus cases Monday bringing the state’s total to 53,077. An additional four Arkansans died from COVID-19 for a death toll of 603.

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.

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