By Ray King

Governor Asa Hutchinson on Friday announced that he has extended the current public health emergency caused by the Coronavirus for another 60 days.

At his daily COVID-19 press conference, the Governor said “The pandemic has not abated. It’s not gone away. We’re making progress but there’s still an emergency public health wise.”

For the third straight day, reported cases of COVID-19 declined in the state with 626 new cases, 89 in correctional facilities and the remaining 437 in community settings.

So far this year, there have been 52,392 cumulative cases with 6,359 of them active.

There are currently 466 people hospitalized, seven fewer than on Thursday and there have been 587 deaths, five more than on Thursday.

The Governor also announced that guidelines have been sent to administrators of all public and private schools and to athletic directors for both indoor and outdoor gatherings, specifically football stadiums with the seasons due to start next week with scrimmage games between schools.

Among those guidelines will be a requirement that spectators to all events wear masks and maintain social distancing of at least 6-feet.

Hutchinson also said that it will be up to the various school  districts to enforce the mask and social distancing requirements at their school.