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WATCH: Governor Asa Hutchinson provides update on COVID-19

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced 722 new cases and seven additional deaths due to COVID-19 in Arkansas at his daily press conference in Little Rock on Thursday.

Courtesy: Arkansas Department of Health

There are currently 5341 cases statewide considered active by the Arkansas Department of Health.

The top counties reporting new cases on Thursday include:

  • Pulaski – 64
  • Benton – 37
  • Sebastian – 37
  • Pope – 34
  • Jefferson 32

The statewide death toll due to coronavirus is now 739.

The net number of patients hospitalized with the virus dropped to 433 (-2), including 99 (-9) patients on ventilators.

The state reported 6682 tests results over the last 24 hours.

The number of cases considered recovered by the Arkansas Department of Health rose to 42,665 (+764) on Thursday.

There are already more than 200 active cases of COVID-19 in public schools.

We got our first look at school data today.

Statewide, there are 222 active cases in public school districts.

That makes 544 total since June 15.

A total of 41 cases are active at colleges and universities and the state plans to start posting the number of cases in individual school districts.

“It will report five or greater number of cases t the school district level. These are actual cases that are connected within the school district. We will be reporting both active cases and cumulative cases,” Secretary Johnny Key said.

Since these cases have been reported so early in the school year, Hutchinson said it is too early to tell how effective COVID-19 plans will be.

He said it could take a couple of weeks for us to see what kind of spread we will see in schools.

Hutchinson said if cases are reported in your school, consider the schools response plan before making a decision on your child’s education.

“I know that they’ll be looking at the number of cases, but I do encourage parents to look more deeply and not simply to react by the fact that there is a case in a school,” Hutchinson said.

The school data will be updated every couple of days on the Department of Health website.

Arkansas’ Secretary of Health says asymptomatic people should still get COVID-19 tests despite new CDC guidance.

The CDC released new testing guidance this week that said asymptomatic people who have been exposed to COVID-19 don’t need a test.

But Dr. Romero said the guidance defers to states if the state feels the testing is necessary.

“Our state health department feels it is important to test those individuals. We’ve had some individuals who have questioned our request for children or adults who are asymptomatic and have been exposed to someone who has COVID to undergo testing. That is within the recommendation,” Romero said.

The CDC guidance also makes an exception for people with high risk conditions.

For more information on the state’s response to the novel coronavirus, visit https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus.

You can watch the full press conference from Thursday, August 27 below:

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