LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced 844 new cases and 14 additional deaths due to COVID-19 in Arkansas on Tuesday, October 20.
There are now 7159 cases statewide considered active by the Arkansas Department of Health.
There have been 5439 PCR tests this month and 2429 antigen tests.
A total of 85,675 people in Arkansas have recovered. Since March, there have been a total of 100,441 cases.
The statewide death toll due to COVID-19 is now 1728.
A total of 637 (+24) people are hospitalized and 101 (+2) are on ventilators.
The top counties reporting new cases today include:
- Pulaski – 62
- Washington – 39
- Benton – 38
- Craighead – 32
- Crittenden – 25
A COVID-19 exposure leads to the governor’s weekly news conference being held virtually.
Today was the 153rd time Hutchinson addressed the state since our first COVID-19 case.
For the first time he held his briefing without those on his team and media members in the room, because he says someone who was in a meeting with him last week tested positive for the coronavirus.
He said he was notified of this close contact early Monday morning.
“I did have a COVID test on Monday morning early. It was an antigen test that was negative it was followed by a PCR test that was also negative,” Hutchinson said.
The governor said he was six feet away from the positive person.
Out of an abundance of caution, he is limiting his meetings so no one is inadvertently exposed.
The state’s top doctor said our number of new COVID-19 cases statewide indicates Arkansans aren’t following the mask mandate.
Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said it’s essential we follow all the recommendations for decreasing transmission of the coronavirus.
He said this includes wearing face coverings practicing social distancing of six feet or more and washing our hands.
“We need to have at least 50% of the population use the mask and use these guidelines consistently in order to see a decrease in the number of cases we report each day,” Romero said.
Just last week Hutchinson extended Arkansas’ COVID-19 emergency for another 60 days.
In addition to continuing the state’s mask mandate it allows small business relief and telemedicine with Medicaid reimbursements.
Hutchinson proclaims this sunday, October 25, as a voluntary Day of Prayer in Arkansas.
He said this is in regards to the challenges we face with COVID-19.
He’s encouraging Arkansans to call upon God for strength, guidance, wisdom, and help throughout this pandemic.
The governor said this proclamation was influenced by the many around the state who have written him letters letting him know they’ve been praying for him.
You can learn more about the state’s response to the novel coronavirus at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus.