By Ray King
More than 26,000 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Arkansas, according to the daily report from Governor Asa Hutchinson.
At his daily press conference, the Governor said there were 806 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, raising the cumulative total to 26,052. Of those, 5,751 are active cases.
The number of people hospitalized has almost reached the 400 level as 36 new patients were admitted over the past 24 hours, 82 of them requiring the use of ventilators. Four additional deaths were reported bringing the state total to 309.
State Health Officer Dr. Nate Smith said 19,992 have recovered from the virus.
Smith also used a chart listing the top 10 cities in the state in terms of active cases with Springdale topping the list with 641, followed by Little Rock with 414, Rogers with 256, Fort Smith with 255 and Conway with 203. Fayetteville was sixth with 153 cases followed by Texarkana with 119, Russellville with 116, Danville with 96 and Bentonville with 78.
Hutchinson and State Education Director Johnny Key also talked about school resuming in-class instruction beginning in August with the Governor saying that there is no plan to conduct wide-spread testing of students and faculty prior to the beginning of school but testing will be offered on an as-needed basis.
In conjunction with the State Department of Health, the Education Department has developed response level chart showing actions districts will need to take if cases of COVID-19 develop in the schools. Those responses range from limited to critical, depending on the number of cases.
On the subject of students and faculty members wearing face coverings, Key said the decision will be made in the local district.