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Coronavirus in Ark.: Gov. Hutchinson addresses White House report, says demand for testing is down

Coronavirus

MALVERN, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson and Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero gave an update on the state’s COVID-19 response in Malvern Tuesday afternoon.

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday afternoon there are an additional 480 cases and 15 deaths. That brings the state’s total to 57,374 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 711 deaths.

According to Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero, two of the newly reported deaths happened before August and seven happened in nursing homes. Dr. Romero said the nursing home deaths were not in the same nursing homes.

Governor Hutchinson said 442 people are hospitalized in Arkansas due to the virus, which is a decrease of 24 from Monday.

According to Dr. José Romero, there are 108 people on a ventilator in Arkansas due to the coronavirus. This is no change from Monday.

Governor Hutchinson said there were 3,300 tests completed Monday.

State officials say demand is down for coronavirus testing.

State officials say coronavirus testing at the county health units is free. According to officials, the county health unit will take your insurance information, but the person being tested does not have to pay.

Hutchinson said according to a report from the White House he receives periodically, the state is yellow in terms of test positivity. This means the White House has recognized the state is below 10% in positivity in testing. Arkansas was previously in the red, which means the positivity rating was above 10%. The governor said according to the White House report, Arkansas is still the ninth highest in the country in positivity rating despite going into the yellow level.

According to Governor Hutchinson, the White House report indicates Arkansas is still in the red level for new cases from last week. Hutchinson said the state would need to have less than 3,000 new cases in a week. Last week, there were 3,600 new cases, according to the governor. Governor Hutchinson said he hopes the state reduces the number of cases this week to make continued progress.

The governor also asked that if you are getting tested, isolate until you receive the results. This is after Secretary Johnny Key said a student at a school was tested for the coronavirus but went to school without knowing the results of a test. After the result came back positive, the governor said six other students are having to isolate until their tests come back.

The governor said the state is still waiting on approval to be able to give out an additional $300 in unemployment compensation.

Governor Hutchinson announced an additional $7 million in grants are coming to cities and providers for high-speed internet, including $1.1 million for Donaldson. Other towns receiving grants are Crossett, Carlisle, Emmet and Centerpoint.

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