Arkansas Governor Extends COVID-19 State of Emergency

Aug 14, 2020

August 14, 2020 3:30 p.m. — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson at his daily coronavirus press briefing in Little Rock today announced he is extending the state’s public health emergency order for 60 more days.

“The pandemic has not abated, not gone away,” he said. “We have over 500 deaths, and 6,000 active cases. We remain in a state of emergency.” 

On Friday, Hutchinson cited 626 new cases, for a total 52,392 positive cases in Arkansas. Of those 6,359 are active, down by 200 over the past 24 hours. Five new deaths have occurred, for a total of 587 in Arkansas. Hospitalizations have declined by 7, to 466, with 113 patients currently on ventilators.


Hutchinson showed a graph indicated the 7-day rolling average of new covid cases in northwest Arkansas are in decline. New cases in central Arkansas remain elevated, as well in northeast Arkansas. New cases in southwest Arkansas are flat, with southeast Arkansas trending lower.


Hutchinson says directives on deploying safe school activity programs are available on the Arkansas Department of Health website for sport, cheer, choir, dance and band. He stressed that any building facility cannot exceed 66 percent capacity, allowing for social distancing by six feet and all students, with staff and instructors required to wear masks at all times. He warned the state will continue with its AAA schedule for school sponsored sports this fall, but if schools don’t maintain discipline regarding public health guidelines, that may place the entire season at risk.


Arkansas Sec. of Health Jose Romero announced that in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at any school, the Arkansas Department of Health will have ten teams on standby to deploy mass testing and contact tracing to contain viral spread. The department, he says, is currently assembling those teams.


Arkansas Education Sec. Johnny Key announced that copies of an illustrated “Kids Guide to the Coronavirus” are being distributed to every public and private elementary school in the state. He says he’s building a strategic reserve for school PPE, aiming to distribute millions of masks, but is encountering certain supply chain issues. Adequate school staffing is also a concern, Key said, but hiring is a local district responsibility.


In response to parents as well as school administrators and teachers who don’t want to resume an in-person school session, Key stressed that kids need to be on campus this fall.


“Their needs are not being met by virtual learning,” he said.


You can find the daily press briefings on the governor’s YouTube page.