Gov. Hutchinson believes Arkansas mask mandate will be removed


FILE – In this April 27, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson takes off his Arkansas Razorbacks facemark as he arrives for the daily coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock. Hutchinson issued the order Thursday, July, 16, 2020, effective Monday, July 20, requiring people to wear masks in public throughout the state, which is dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases. The governor issued the order after weeks of resisting such a requirement. (Staton Breidenthal/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he believes his plan to remove a mask mandate intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus will take place at the end of the month, as previously announced.

On CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ Sunday, Hutchinson said the goals he announced in February to lift the mask mandate, which include a positivity rate of below 10 percent or fewer than 750 hospitalizations, are being met and he believes the mask requirement will be removed.

The state’s positivity rate was 9 percent, according to data from Johns Hopkins University on Sunday.

Figures released by the Arkansas Department of Health on Sunday show a continued decline in the state’s active case count, which dropped to 2,578.

The state added 108 cases from the prior day to bring the total during the pandemic to 328,655, while the six additional confirmed deaths brought that total to 5,539.

Vaccination efforts continued over the weekend, with just over 8,000 vaccinations being administered between the state and federal programs in Arkansas on Sunday.

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