Arkansas virus hospitalizations hit new high as cases surge

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was joined by members of his cabinet to update citizens on the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday.

Listen to the address in full here:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Arkansas’ COVID-19 hospitalizations again hit a new high on Tuesday, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson resisted calls for new restrictions on businesses or gatherings to combat a surge in coronavirus cases.

The Department of Health reported 24 more people were hospitalized because of COVID-19, bringing the state’s virus hospitalizations to a new high of 810. The state’s confirmed and probable virus cases rose by 1,424 to 124,235.

“The numbers aren’t good, the trend is not good and we have a lot of work to do here in Arkansas and across the nation,” Hutchinson said at his weekly news briefing on the virus.

The state’s COVID-19 deaths rose by four to 2,112.

Hutchinson said he doesn’t support rolling back the state’s reopening of businesses. The Republican governor said many of the state’s cases are coming from smaller gatherings at homes that he said can’t be regulated.

“You’d be shutting down businesses that are taking precautions, but you’ve still got the spread through all the other activities of life,” Hutchinson said.

Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said the latest rise in cases is linked to Halloween activities and warned that could be a harbinger of what’s to come over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.