On Thursday, September 3, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 969 new cases of COVID-19 during a press conference led by Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Cumulative cases have reached 63,081 and there have been 20 additional deaths reported, according to a tweet from the Arkansas Department of Health.
During the press conference, located at the Capitol, Hutchinson shared that the top county for new cases was Washington County with 211 cases. “Obviously in Washington County, we have the University of Arkansas and 81 percent of those new cases were between the ages of 18 and 24,” Hutchinson said. “I think it can safely be surmised that many of those new cases are college students and it’s just a signal that we have a lot of work to do here in Arkansas.”
As the Labor Day weekend approaches, Hutchinson stressed that college students across the state need to act responsibly. “We need all of our college-aged kids to take this more seriously than the average college student takes a pandemic,” Hutchinson said. “We ask you to make sure you protect others over the course of the weekend, so we can continue and to have the kind of school year we all expect.”
Dr. José Romero, secretary of health, reiterated this plea when speaking at the podium. He shared that out of the 969 new COVID-19 cases for Arkansas, 250 were from the 18-to-24-years-old group.
“I understand and we all know that colleges time to socialize, but you need to do this in a very responsible manner. And as the governor mentioned we’re coming up on a major holiday this will give the college students a lot of free time and as mentioned many are not going to be going home,” Romero said. “I cannot stress enough the importance of this because this will increase significantly more if it’s not brought under control now.”
When asked if having the bars in Fayetteville open presented a mixed message for University of Arkansas students, Hutchinson responded that the restaurants and bars have strict guidelines in place to protect patrons. “I am calling on all of our establishment owners to help us,” Hutchinson said. “It’s in your interest to make sure that our students are encouraged to do the right thing and that you you set the right example.”
Photo courtesy of Mick Haupt