LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson, along with the Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, Dr. Jose Romero, provided an update on the state’s response to the spread of COVID-19 in Arkansas.
The Governor announced 615 new coronavirus cases in Arkansas, with hospitalizations up by 12, and there were 27 more deaths. This is the highest one-death death reports to date, although some of the deaths are late reportings.
As the Governor showed the 14-day rolling average, he pointed out Craighead County saying, “There’s work to be done there.”
Craighead County reported 49 new cases in the last 24 hours.
The White House weekly report shows Arkansas in “red zone.” Hutchinson said the report, “Reminds us that it’s a serious virus and we’ve got a lot of work to do. Its recommendations to restrict and close some businesses, if it makes sense, we’ll consider.”
On Antigen testing, the ADH confirms 2,050 have been positive. They did a total of 13,098 tests administered, with a 15.7% positivity rate. These tests are designed for people who are symptomatic, PCR tests can be used for those who are asymptomatic.
Hutchinson said a large number of Tuesday’s antigen tests came from Washington County. Those around the University of Arkansas are getting PCR tests, but some are getting the antigen tests in significant numbers.
ADH Secretary Dr. Jose Romero took time to speak to college students saying, “We’re seeing more cases on campuses across the state. Use your mask, use social distancing and sanitize your hands. Avoid crowds and parties. I ask you to please keep this in mind. Celebrate and congregate responsibly.”
Hutchinson equated it as a “human element,” since it brings tens of thousands of students back to the University of Arkansas, but said, “We still have to wear masks and be responsible when we gather. It’s about how the students execute the plan.”
“I think higher education institutions in Arkansas are doing a very good job. They’re prepared. Now, it’s up to students and how they execute their plans. Most live off campus, and they need to take extra precautions,” Hutchinson said.
Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key says the USDA announced earlier this week they are extending several waivers that allow districts to hand out meals for students free at cost.
The plan gives districts flexibility to feed students in need that are in remote learning settings.
This means Arkansas school students can all be served meals free of cost through the end of the year, without cost to the districts on or off campus.
Gov. Hutchinson also commented on the CDC’s announcement on moratorium of evictions. Governor Hutchinson says there are funds available to help with rent if you can’t pay because of COVID-19.