By Ray King

Since Arkansas recorded more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 last Friday, the number has dropped for four straight days, according to Governor Asa Hutchinson.

At his daily COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, the Governor said there were 294 new cases reported, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 66,021.

There are currently 409 people hospitalized, that’s 10 more than on Monday and nine additional deaths were reported, raising the state total to 917. State Health Officer Dr. Jose Romero said one of those deaths was a late report.

Three counties reported 20 or more new cases of COVID-19 with Cross County leading the list with 30. Romero said some of those appear to be an outbreak at a nursing home and the Department of Health is investigating that outbreak. Washington County was 2nd with 29 cases and Pulaski County reported 28 new cases.

A total of 59,260 people were listed as having recovered from COVID-19.

The Governor also announced that Arkansas is buying 120,000 antigen test kits through its multi-state purchasing coalition and those test kits will be dispersed to health department offices and college campus health care facilities. The cost for the kits will be $4 million and will come federal money through the CARES Act.