Coronavirus in Ark.: Gov. Hutchinson announces 12 additional deaths, 468 positive PCR and antigen tests

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday afternoon there are an additional 12 deaths and 468 positive PCR and antigen tests.

Out of the 468 positive tests, 398 were positive PCR tests and 70 were positive antigen tests.

State officials say there are 5,196 active cases of the coronavirus in Arkansas.

That brings the state’s total to 66,804 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 940 deaths, according to Governor Hutchinson.

Governor Hutchinson said there were 4,900 PCR tests and 430 antigen tests conducted on Wednesday. This means there were 5,330 total tests completed Wednesday.

According to the governor, the cumulative positivity rate is 8.3%.

Governor Hutchinson said the positivity rate for the antigen tests is 15.4%.

Hutchinson said the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the state has decreased by 19, bringing the current total to 392.

Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero said 79 people are on ventilators across the state due to the virus, which is a decrease of three.

Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, Deputy Commissioner for the Arkansas Department of Education, said Thursday two more schools were moving to remote learning temporarily.

According to Pfeffer, a third grade class in Fordyce will be doing virtual studies until at least the end of the week and Tuckerman High School will be learning remotely through September 21.

Governor Hutchinson expressed some concern with the future CARES Act funding that the state has and the lack of action of the Senate Thursday. According to Hutchinson, the state has to spend the money by December 30 as of right now. The governor said as of right now, the money the state has received to expand high-speed internet can’t be spent by then because of construction. Governor Hutchinson hopes Congress can extend the deadline.

Stephanie Williams, Chief of Staff for the Arkansas Department of Health said they have more than 600 contact tracers and the turnaround time for information is shrinking.

The governor also announced Thursday that Friday will be the last daily news briefing. Governor Hutchinson said there will be briefings weekly or as needed.

Hutchinson said state officials have done 143 updates.

The governor said he and Dr. Romero will have daily meetings about the coronavirus.

On Friday, the daily news conference will be in Mena.

You can watch the full news conference above.

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