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All public schools in Arkansas closed this week due to coronavirus concerns

A total of 16 positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas have been confirmed so far by the Arkansas Department of Health.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson provided a new update on coronavirus in Arkansas after 16 COVID-19 cases were confirmed Sunday morning. He said that starting on Tuesday all public schools will be closed to on-site instruction until the end of Spring Break.

Since March 11, a total of 16 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Arkansas. COVID-19 is the disease caused by novel coronavirus.

Arkansas coronavirus hotlines: 

  • For children (staffed by Arkansas Children's Hospital): 1-800-743-3616 
  • For adults (staffed by UAMS): 1-800-632-4502

Key facts to know:

  • 16 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas
    • Pulaski, Jefferson, Garland and Saline counties are where the individuals are located
  • 30 people are under investigation
  • 121 negative tests
  • Gov. Hutchinson announced the closure of all public schools until after Spring Break
  • Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. confirmed the city's first community transmission case of COVID-19.
Credit: ADH


Sunday, March 15:

10:45 p.m.:

Oaklawn Racing & Gaming announced Sunday evening that they were closing the casino for two weeks effective tomorrow, March 16.

The announcement comes after it was confirmed that two of the 16 positive COVID-19 cases in the state are in Garland County. Article: Oaklawn casino closed after 2 people test positive for COVID-19 in Garland County

9:15 p.m.:

In a combined release, Little Rock Christian, Central Arkansas Christian, Catholic High School, Episcopal Collegiate and Pulaski Academy announced they will close school for the next two weeks. Article: List of schools closing Monday after Gov. closure announcement over COVID-19 concerns

The CDC has released new guidelines recommend limiting large gatherings like concerts, weddings and sporting events with 50 people for eight weeks. Article: New CDC coronavirus guidelines: Cancel events with 50 or more people

6:40 p.m.:

The Little Rock Zoo announced Sunday that it will close its doors to the public "at least until March 30."

The closure follows Governor Hutchinson's press conference Sunday afternoon announcing the closure of all public schools until the 27th.

Article: Little Rock Zoo will be closed to the public until March 30

4:45 p.m.:

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an order Sunday that all bars and restaurants to close beginning at 9 p.m. throughout the state. Article: Ohio Governor orders all bars, restaurants to close beginning 9 p.m. Sunday

Governor Hutchinson said at this time, it is up to individual restaurants whether they will close their doors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

4:15 p.m.:

Several Arkansas school districts have announced being closed on Monday after the governor's announcement. 

Here is a link to our article on schools closed on Monday: List of schools closing Monday after Gov. closure announcement over COVID-19 concerns

1:50 p.m.:

Gov. Hutchinson announced that all public schools in Arkansas will be closed starting on Tuesday and last until the end of Spring Break.

He said that school will be optional on Monday if the school districts need it, but mandatory closure will start on Tuesday.

Hutchinson said he doesn't expect there will be long-term closures for public schools.

RELATED: List of Arkansas schools closing, moving to online classes due to COVID-19 concerns

Dr. Nathaniel Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said people with "high level of vulnerability should consider how much they want to be out in the public." He said, "others can continue many aspects of life."

1:45 p.m.:

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced that the state's price gouging laws are in effect for at least 30 days.

The public health emergency declared by Gov. Hutchinson triggered the laws to help protect people against price gouging.

It will be a "$10,000 fine if you're in violation of price gouging laws" for every face masks, bottles of water and hand sanitizers.

RELATED: Arkansas announces up to $10k fine for price gouging during coronavirus outbreak

1:30 p.m.:

Gov. Hutchinson strongly cautioned against "panic buying," saying supplies will be available in the coming weeks.

Of the four new cases announced Sunday, two were acquired out-of-state and the individuals self-quarantined. Those two are residents from Garland County.

The state has reported over 100 negative tests so far, but 237 people are being monitored by the Arkansas Department of Health.

Hutchinson said by next week, the state should have the ability to run "440 COVID-19 tests."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In a press conference Sunday, Governor Hutchinson said the state should be able to run 440 COVID-19 tests throughout the state by next week. The Arkansas Department of Health has been able to officially confirm what was initially presumptive positive cases of novel coronavirus as positive.

8:45 a.m.:

The Arkansas Department of Health updated its website to say that 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 are now in the state.

ADH also is reporting 30 people are under investigation.

RELATED: 16 COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, 30 people under investigation

We will continually update this article with more information as it becomes available.

RELATED: UAMS offering drive-thru coronavirus screenings in Little Rock

RELATED: Why we're closing schools, avoiding events, and suspending the NBA season to stop the coronavirus

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