Hutchinson says weekend is ‘critical’ to COVID-19 fight

Arkansas
FILE - In this March 23, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, speaks in Little Rock Ark. Gov. Hutchinson is resisting issuing a broad stay-at-home order to curb the coronavirus outbreak, even as the state's cases continue to increase. Health officials on Thursday, March 2, 2020, said the number of coronavirus cases in the state had risen to at least 643, with two additional deaths. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Coronavirus cases continue to soar in Arkansas, approaching the 100,000 mark as Gov. Asa Hutchinson called this weekend “critical” to the state’s fight against COVID-19. State health officials reported 1,015 new coronavirus cases Friday, a high number for Arkansas but down from Thursday’s daily-record 1,278 cases. The state Department of Health on Tuesday reported that the new confirmed cases bring the state total for the outbreak to 97,539 with 8,609 now active and 590 requiring hospitalization. Meanwhile, 20 more people died of the coronavirus Friday, bringing the state death toll to 1,665.