LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Friday there have been 2,061 cases added in a 24-hour period, 24 additional deaths and a record number of hospitalizations. Hospitalizations stand at 935, which is an increase of 36.
Out of the cases announced Friday, 1,618 are confirmed cases and 443 are considered probable cases.
Out of the cases announced Friday, 209 are in Pulaski County, 162 are in Washington County, 133 are in Benton County, 107 are in Craighead County and 90 are in White County.
Out of the confirmed cases announced Friday, 1,600 are from communities and 18 are from correctional facilities.
Out of the 24 deaths announced Friday, 20 are from confirmed cases and four are from probable cases.
The number of active cases increased by 362 Friday to 17,360.
According to state officials, 15,095 PCR tests and 3,383 antigen tests were completed Thursday.
According to the Department of Health’s website, there have been 141,916 total COVID-19 cases and 2,321 deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dr. Cam Patterson, UAMS Chancellor says he helped to release new guidelines for healthcare workers who have been exposed to COVID-19.
Essential healthcare workers can be tested 5-7 days after exposure, and if it’s negative, they can return to work.
Currently, according to Patterson, there are 400 UAMS employees under quarantine.
Dr. Jose Romero, from the Arkansas Department of Health, also took time to urge Arkansans to not travel outside the state for Thanksgiving and to only celebrate with those at home.
Romero also commented on the record number of hospitalizations. He says the number is high, but hospitals do have bed space available. He hopes the number of available beds will increase after the holiday.
Gov. Hutchison announced that 1,104 nursing students in Arkansas are set to graduate in the coming weeks. He said the board will expedite their licensure. Hutchison also said their application fees would be waived. However, the background check would still happen and students would still have to pay that particular fee.
On Thursday, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced a new closing time for all businesses in Arkansas licensed to sell or that allow consumption of alcohol as concerns over a renewed COVID-19 surge continues.
The new directive orders bars, restaurants and private clubs with “on-premise” permits to close by 11 p.m. starting Friday. The new order runs through January 3.
When asked about further restrictions, Governor Hutchinson says he does not plan to do anything that would harm Arkansas businesses or create more hardship.