By Ray King

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said Monday that the use of violence against persons or damage to property during protests around the state are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

The governor was reacting to protests that occurred over the weekend in a number of cities across the state and nation that followed the death of a man in Minnesota who died while in police custody. Four police officers were fired as a result of the death and murder charges have been filed against one of them.

Hutchinson said he would have more to say on the subject during a news conference in Little Rock Monday afternoon.

He spoke from Rogers in Northwest Arkansas which has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases over the past several days.

Over the past 24 hours, 190 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state, bringing the total to 7,443. Of those, 1,909 are considered active.

State Health Officer Dr. Nate Smith said 78 of the active cases are in nursing homes, 53 in correctional facilities, and the remaining 1,778 are community related. A total of 5,401 people have recovered from COVID-19.

There are currently 121 people hospitalized, that’s six more than on Sunday, and no new deaths have been reported so the total stands at 133.

Hutchinson had set a goal of 60,000 tests to be conducted during May and said he was pleased that there were a total of 80,808 tests for the month which ended Sunday. He went on to say that he hoped the testing effort continues in June when every nursing home resident in the state will be tested.