Positivity rates in Ark. at 10% as fall sports begin with no-contact team drills next week

Hutchinson reported 11 new deaths, as the state's death toll topped 450.

FULL BRIEFING 7/31: Gov. Hutchinson and officials ask the AAA for a plan for fall sports in Ark.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson updated the public Friday on the state’s response to the coronavirus, including the latest cases of COVID-19 and deaths.

Hutchinson says close contact sports and activities including football are set to begin. The plan is to have football, volleyball, and cheerleading this fall, with the hope to have a full season for all sports.

The Arkansas Athletic Association has presented a schedule for football no-contact team drills, starting on Monday, Aug 3-7.

High school football teams can begin no-contact practice with helmets next week, as confirmed coronavirus cases topped 42,000 in the state since the pandemic began.

Hutchinson has asked the AAA to submit a plan to ADH for football, cheerleading & volleyball for this fall.

“If we do not have sports, student-athletes will travel out of state and increase the risk,” Hutchinson says.

Hutchinson continued to say, “We’re going to learn over the next three weeks what adjustments need to be made and improve our safety protocols.”

Lance Taylor with the AAA said, “Our goal is to start the high school football season as scheduled and on time.”

Taylor told coaches that the most important thing they can do is stress the importance of wearing masks. Taylor said, “Masks will help us play and determine championships.”

Hutchinson said, “If you don’t have sports? You can’t ask kids to keep practicing and not have a season. These kids could be out engaging in behavior that could leave them infected. This is a more controlled environment.”

Taylor said he thought cheerleading will move forward next week, while the band guidelines were looking to be tweaked by the ADH.

Hutchinson reported the numbers over the past 24 hours, noting the new numbers stayed flat, while the state tested significantly more people over the past day.

The majority of the new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas come from the following counties:

  • Sebastian (81)
  • Pulaski (77)
  • Benton (51)
  • Washington (41)
  • Independence (31)
  • Crittenden (29)
  • Union (29)
  • Mississippi (25)
  • Jefferson (23)
  • Saline (21)
  • Craighead (20)

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