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Coronavirus in Arkansas: Governor Asa Hutchinson gives update on state’s COVID-19 response

Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson gave an update Tuesday afternoon on the state’s COVID-19 response.

Gov. Hutchinson starts the briefing by saying “the numbers aren’t good. The trend is not good…We are in for a very challenging time.”

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 1,424 new cases which brings the total to 124,235 cases.

813 are hospitalized, which is up 24 from Sunday.

4 deaths were added today for a total of 2,112.

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced new guidelines for places of worship in Arkansas on Tuesday.

According to the new guidelines, masks need to be worn at all times by all congregants, “except those who are exempt under ADH guidelines.”

“Unmasked congregational singing is the primary driver of transmission in churches – even if people are six feet apart,” the new guidance states.

“We respect the separation of church and state. They make their decisions on their own governance and how they handle things, but we do provide the guidelines that we ask them to take into consideration from a public health standpoint, and they’ve done a remarkable job in respecting those guidelines,” Hutchinson said.

According to Dr. Jose Romero from Arkansas’ Department of Health, the increased number of cases were a result of the Halloween holiday. He also stated this is something that should be monitored as we enter the winter holiday season.

Right now, there are a total of 10,105 active cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The 7-day rolling average of positive tests is trending upward toward 10% again.

In today’s update, Johnny Key, Arkansas’ Education Secretary, also took the time to report 21 schools had to make on-site modifications since last week due to the virus.

Key also took the time to address a rumor that has been floating around the state. He said that are no plans to switch schools to virtual learning between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Dr. Romero also reported that in at least 20 counties across there state, there has been reports of over 20 new confirmed cases.

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