LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson said Friday he intends to have high school football, volleyball and cheerleading this fall.
Hutchinson said the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) presented a football schedule to have no-contact team drills with helmets August 3-7.
The governor is also asking AAA to submit a plan to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) to have football, volleyball and cheerleading this fall.
“That will allow the Department of Health to review and develop guidelines for mitigating the virus risk associated with contact sports,” Governor Hutchinson said.
Governor Hutchinson also announced he is establishing a High School Sports Advisory Group to make recommendations to him and advise ADH about best practices for protecting student-athletes and school personnel, as well as lead the way to have a regular sports season this fall.
The governor said to football players, “Grab your helmet and be ready for practice. Then after practice, grab your mask.”
According to state officials, the plan is to have contact practices starting August 10, but the advisory group will meet to talk about it.
As of Friday afternoon, there are 42,511 total COVID-19 cases and 453 deaths in the state, according to Governor Asa Hutchinson. That is an increase of 752 new cases and 11 deaths since Thursday.
The governor said of the new cases, 33 are in correctional facilities.
According to Interim Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero, 719 of the 752 new cases are in communities.
The governor said the counties with the largest number of new cases are Sebastian County (81), Pulaski County (77), Benton County (51), Washington County (41), Jefferson County (32), Independence County (31), Crittenden County (29), Union County (29), Saline County (21) and Craighead County (20).
According to Dr. Romero, there are currently 6,645 active cases of the virus in the state.
Hutchinson said there are currently 507 people hospitalized in Arkansas due to the coronavirus, which is an increase of three from Thursday.
Dr. Romero said the number of people currently on ventilators in Arkansas due to the virus is 100, a decrease of one from Thursday.
Dr. Romero said an additional 676 were considered recovered from the virus since Thursday. This means there have been 35,413 people recover from the virus in Arkansas.
State officials say there were 7,207 tests completed on Thursday.
According to state officials, the new cases were flat even though testing went up.
The governor said the Department of Health is working 24 hours a day on tests.
According to state officials, 188,478 tests have been completed in the month of July.
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