Arkansas COVID-19

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

Governor's Office

Arkansas’ governor is extending the state’s public health emergency for an additional 45 days as the state continues to see more cases of the coronavirus.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, the state saw 322 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 13,928. 11 more people have died from the coronavirus as well. The state’s death count is now at 208.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Starting next month, visitors will be allowed in Arkansas nursing homes and long-term care facilities after being prohibited since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking in his daily briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in-person visits can resume on July 1 at facilities where all residents and staff have been tested for COVID-19.

The announcement came the same day that Arkansas reported 415 additional people had tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 13,606. An increase of nine new deaths from the disease brought the state’s death toll to 197.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansans collecting unemployment benefits must now prove they’re searching for a job as the state’s total number of coronavirus cases surpasses 13,000.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that the state had an additional 274 people test positive bringing the total to 13,191, while six more deaths from COVID-19 brought the death toll to 188.

Holding his daily briefing in Hot Springs, Hutchinson said the growth in new cases continues to vary by region, which could merit some business restrictions being reinstated.

Governor's Office / YouTube

With the state entering a second phase of easing business restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, Arkansas’s governor has enacted new protections shielding businesses and healthcare providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19.

During his daily briefing Monday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that the state saw 416 new cases, bringing the total to 12,917, with three additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 182. Monday’s uptick follows an increase of 954 new cases since last Friday.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Despite Arkansas seeing a record number of COVID-19 cases, the state is moving on to Phase Two of reopening, guided by the Trump Administration's Opening Up America Again Guidelines. Under Phase Two, which began Monday restaurants are allowed to operate at two-thirds capacity for dine-in services. Not all restaurants are eager to reopen however.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas has once again seen its largest daily increase in new coronavirus cases, due in large part to a resurgence of infections in Arkansas prisons and in poultry plants.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the increase of 731 new cases Friday bringing the state’s total to 11,547, while the state’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 176 after five more Arkansans died.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas saw its third highest number of new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the total number of cases in the state nears 11,000.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 448 new cases have been recorded. The total number of cases is now 10,816. Of those cases, 3,294 are considered active.

The total number of Arkansans hospitalized with COVID-19 is now 187. That’s an increase of six. 171 Arkansans have now died from the coronavirus, also an increase of six compared to yesterday.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson remains immensely popular in Arkansas for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his response to recent social unrest. His latest policy move bucks public sentiment and may dent his approval, but he has room to fall.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey shows Hutchinson with a job approval rating three times higher than his disapproval rating. The poll was taken on Tuesday, June 9 and Wednesday, June 10 of 869 statewide likely voters and has a margin of error of +/-3.3%.

A guard holds a drink while prisoners work in the field behind him at the Cummins Unit. This photo is from 1975, when folklorist and documentarian Bruce Jackson gained rare photographic access to daily life at Cummins. In 2020, multiple Arkansas prisons s
Bruce Jackson - Used with permission

As of this week, COVID-19 has infected inmates in four Arkansas state prisons. The virus exploded at the Cummins Unit first, and quickly became one of the country’s largest known prison outbreaks.

Established in 1902, Cummins is the state’s oldest and largest prison. It is named after one of the slave plantations that was there before.

“I have a vivid memory of pulling up to the Cummins Unit,” said Kaleem Nazeem. He was convicted as a juvenile and spent 27 years in Arkansas prisons. 12 of those years were at the Cummins Unit.

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

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.


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.