Arkansas posts largest single-day spike in coronavirus cases

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Arkansas has had its largest single-day spike in coronavirus cases, health officials announced on Thursday as the state said it was allowing youth sports and summer camps to resume operations with new virus restrictions.The Department of Health said at least 5,458 people in the state have tested positive for the virus, an increase of 455 over the previous day. The true number is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.The number of people in the state who have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, rose to 110.

Health officials said at least half of the new cases came from a federal prison in Forrest City.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that community and school team sports will be allowed to resume June 1 but with restrictions because of the virus. The state’s rules prohibit team practice and competition for close contact sports such as basketball, football, wrestling and soccer.

The state is also allowing overnight summer camps to begin operations, with campers arriving no sooner than May 31.

Hutchinson also announced the state has begun sending out its first unemployment payments for gig workers, independent contractors and the self-employed after the site was shut down over the weekend because of a breach.

Hutchinson said nearly 4,000 payments were sent out Wednesday night and debit cards are being sent to another 1,879 claimants. The FBI has said it’s investigating the breach, which was announced the day after the Arkansas Times reported a computer programmer applying for assistance discovered a vulnerability in the system that exposed applicants’ personal information.

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