Coronavirus Coverage

COVID-19 Update: Hutchinson advocates for weekend precautions with 838 new cases

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 838 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, during a press conference led by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Cumulative cases have reached 59,583 and there have been 17 additional deaths reported, according to a tweet from the Arkansas Department of Health.

The governor’s press conference, located at the Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas, highlighted the increase in cases across the state. “It reminds us of the work will still have to do in fighting this virus,” Hutchinson said.

With the end of the first week for public schools, Hutchinson congratulated educators on a good start to the school year. “I want to thank all the students, the athletes, the teachers and the staff who’ve done a remarkable job of getting us through this week in the safest fashion possible,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson also issued a stark reminder for the coming weekend. “What happens with our behavior on the weekend will impact us next week and the week beyond in terms of our schools, our workplace, our families,” Hutchinson said. “We can’t say, ‘Let’s have a party this weekend or have a backyard barbecue and invite 30 people over.’ We have to follow the same social-distancing guidelines on the weekend.”

Dr. José Romero, secretary of health, shared that the number of individuals on ventilators decreased by four and three of the death reports were delayed.

He sought to clarify the need for isolation following testing. “I want to stress the importance that if you get the test, maintain quarantine isolation until you are contacted by the health department with that result,” Romero said.

As universities begin the year, Romero echoed Hutchinson’s concern for weekend activities. “We know that the weekend frees you up from studies and that you have the opportunity to engage in festivities both on-campus and off-campus,” Romero said. “We are beginning to see some outbreaks on some campuses … If we do not bring this under control, it can spread from the campus environment into the community environment so it’s very important that you maintain the basic tenets … masking, social distancing or physical distancing and use of hand sanitizer.”

Photo courtesy of Michael Marais