At Monday’s statewide COVID-19 briefing, officials discussed a wide variety of issues related to the pandemic, including the news of Arkansas passing the 50,000-mark in reported cases.
According to figures released, the state added 645 new cases within the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide number to just over 50,000.
Of the top ten counties reporting new cases within the last 24 hours, Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted Independence County rounded out the list with 20. (Pulaski County tops the list with 61 new cases reported.)
More statewide statistics:
- 508 are currently hospitalized — that’s down six.
- Eleven more deaths have been reported, bringing the statewide total to 555.
- There are 117 patients on ventilators.
- There are 7,323 active cases.
- Recoveries are reported to be at 42,129.
Hutchinson addressed concerns by educators and parents about going back to school in light of the Arkansas Education Administration’s recommendation Monday that the ’20-’21 year begin virtually. (Click here for more on the story.)
The governor said the state plan is to have the first two weeks of school in-person, being as safe as possible. Officials will be on the watch for areas that need improvement and will make those improvements if necessary, Hutchinson noted.
“Let’s start school with in-classroom instruction,” the governor said. “If we have to adjust down the road in individual school districts, we’ll do that.”
In other news, Hutchinson noted he doesn’t think SEC Football needs to be canceled as recent news reports are suggesting, saying he believes games can be held safely. Plus, he noted the players want to play, and the coaches and staff want games.
Asked about President Donald Trump’s executive order over the weekend addressing continued pandemic unemployment assistance, the governor noted he needs more information and guidelines from the federal level on how the assistance will work. Reports say states will need to come up with 25 percent of the proposed $400 payments.
With 120,000 currently on assistance, that amount will be $265 million for the state to pay if the order goes through, the governor said. Hutchinson noted that’s a big figure, but he believes the legislature will act in the best interest of Arkansas.
To watch today’s briefing, click below.
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