By Ray King

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Friday announced that he is extending the current Public Health Emergency relating to the COVID-19 pandemic for an additional 30 days.

In a statewide address, the Governor said Arkansas is making progress in reducing the number of reported cases of the virus and with an increase in the number of people receiving vaccinations, particularly among the elderly population. He said hospitalizations are down and the state’s positivity rate is below 10 percent.

He also talked about the current mask mandate.

Hutchinson said those public health goals include a positivity rate of below 10 percent with at least 7,500 people being tested daily and if the testing falls below 7,500 people, the state will look at the number of people hospitalized and if that number is less than 750, the mask mandate will become only a recommendation.

Also effective immediately, all the other public health mandates that have been issued with become advisories.

If cases do go up, the Governor said the state can adjust its actions as needed)