Dramatic Rise in New Positive COVID-19 Cases in Arkansas

Sep 4, 2020

September 4, 2020 3 p.m. — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson at his daily coronavirus press briefing on Friday, staged at Unity Health White County Regional Medical Center in Searcy, announced a record rise of new positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas — 1,094 — along with a record number of COVID-19 tests conducted over the 24-hour period, 11,254. Arkansas, now has 5,755 active cases. Total cases diagnosed since the pandemic began in Arkansas is 64,175 cases. Twelve additional deaths have occurred, for a total of 873 who've died due to the virus. Twenty-four more people have been hospitalized for a total of 400, with 84 on ventilators. Washington County has the most cases, 215, of those 82 percent are age 18 to 24, who Huchinson warned are college-age students.

"I spoke with U of A Chancellor Joe Steinmetz ," Hutchinson said, "who told me he's banned all gatherings on and off campus of ten or more."  All 27,500 UofA students will be held accountable to the campus code of compliance, Steinmetz also told the governor. Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Hutchinson said, is also providing compliance police patrols on downtown streets over the holiday weekend to issue warnings and citations to university students and the public engaged in bad behavior. On Friday the University of Arkansas COVID-19 Dashboard showed 639 active cases on campus, up 248 since Wednesday, with 36 recovered. 

Arkansas Sec. of State Jose Romero warned Arkansans, especially college and university students to take precautions over Labor Day. 

"We're coming up on a three-day holiday, and this is an anxiety provoking period for those of us in public health," Romero said. "Please, we need your help, you are part of our communities and as such we ask you to adhere to guidelines that have driven incidence rates down in counties." 

Hutchinson says no extreme measures will be taken regarding the sudden spike in positive cases on the UofA campus, allowing campus officials to respond through targeted testing, contact tracing and other controls. Based on advice from CDC, Hutchinson says, he will not close campuses at this time, in order to contain campus cases from further spreading to local communities.  

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's next COVID-19 press briefing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 8th at 1:30pm.