LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - The state of Arkansas has reached over 9,100 total cases of COVID-19, with Craighead County seeing its first death to the virus, state officials said Saturday.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health website, the state reported 9,101 total cases as of 3:20 p.m. Saturday. Of the 9,101 cases, 2,681 were active while 6,266 have recovered statewide and 154 deaths, up two from Friday.
Officials also reported Craighead County’s first death due to COVID-19.
No details were available.
However, Craighead County has seen 300 total cases so far of COVID-19, up 21 since Friday. State health officials also said the county has had 5,609 negative tests for the virus, as well as 96 active cases.
Also, St. Francis County saw an increase of 50 cases and are now at 744.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Dr. Nate Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, updated the public Friday on the state’s response to the coronavirus, including the latest cases of COVID-19 and deaths.
On Friday, state officials said Arkansas performed 3,846 tests for COVID-19 in one day, with a positivity rate of 3.1%.
Hutchinson said Friday the goal is to stay below the national average of 10% positivity rate, and for the last 20 days, Arkansas has been below the 10% mark.
Since the beginning of June, ADH has been tracking the first 190 cases of positive COVID tests.
Dr. Smith said NYIT at A-State students will be assisting and volunteering to assist with contact tracing of COVID-19.
Hutchinson said the state is, “Building an infrastructure not just for now but for the fall, as well, for contact tracing.”
Later in the day, Gov. Hutchinson met for two hours with protest organizers and leaders around the state during a meeting in Little Rock.
The governor said after the meeting that while it was important for organizers to express their opinions and anger on a variety of issues, including the criminal justice system and the response by law enforcement after tear gas was used, a more effective level of communication with protest organizers could have led to a different outcome.
“Probably some lessons learned there, but I took responsibility for it, I directed - because I wanted to protect property, but I think there could be more probably improved communication in advance on some of this,” Gov. Hutchinson said.
Another meeting with protesters is expected sometime in the future.