EDITOR'S NOTE: This page was last updated Friday, May 27, 2022. Reader interest in this information has waned as the U.S. and Arkansas have entered a different stage of the pandemic. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will continue to report on the impact and trajectory of the virus in Arkansas and around the world, and that coverage may be found at arkansasonline.com/coronavirus.
Arkansas’ first presumptive case of covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, was detected in Pine Bluff on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. The patient had an out-of-state travel history.
There have been 842,439 cases of covid-19 and 11,471 deaths across the state of Arkansas since the pandemic began. Hover over the counties below for more details. On Jan. 19, 2022, Arkansas recorded its highest single-day jump in cases with an increase of 14,494.
On March 26, 2020, Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared the state a disaster area, limiting indoor social gatherings. The declarations have been renewed periodically. From July 2020 to March 2021, the declarations included a mandate for masks in public places. The statewide mask mandate ended March 30, 2021.
On Nov. 3, 2021, vaccines were opened to children ages 5-11, making all Arkansans 5 and older eligible for the vaccine. Hutchinson had previously announced on May 11, 2021, that all Arkansans 12 and older were eligible to receive the vaccine. For more information on vaccines, including how many have been distributed and where you can get one, visit our vaccine page.
Symptoms of covid-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, have been mild for most people but severe or even deadly for some. The elderly and people with underlying health conditions considered most at risk.
The disease is thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Spread generally occurs between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet).
People can also catch covid-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their face.
There is also evidence suggesting people can spread covid-19 without developing symptoms, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that people are most contagious when they have symptoms.
Arkansas covid-19 cases distribution
The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine were administered in Arkansas on Dec. 14, 2020. Walgreens and CVS pharmacies contracted with the federal Department of Health and Human Services in October 2020, and their inoculations of long-term care facilities began in Arkansas, and nationwide, on Dec. 28.
For more information on the virus’ symptoms and treatment, visit our frequently asked questions page. If you would like to share your experience with coronavirus and the changes it has brought to daily life or to submit your own questions about covid-19, please use this form.
Active cases by day
Deaths by day
Hospitalizations by day
New cases by day
Covid-19 cases in Arkansas counties
School districts statewide are working to slow the virus’s spread, prevent large outbreaks, and protect students, teachers and staff members. The state health and education departments have provided recommendations to districts.
Hutchinson and Education Secretary Johnny Key in July 2020 unveiled guidelines for school districts on how to respond to outbreaks. Before the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, Key said schools had a “state responsibility” to open five days a week for in-person classes. However, the guidelines allow for a pivot to remote learning in times of critical response, and a number of schools made that shift in the 2020-21 school year.
Universities in Arkansas also began reporting covid-19 cases with individual dashboards in August 2020. For the spring 2021 semester, the University of Arkansas, like many other colleges in the state, was offering a mix of in-person, remote and hybrid courses.
Nursing homes across the state have been in lockdown under federal orders to protect their residents. The state has adopted federal guidelines on visits, prohibiting visits at nursing homes where a resident or worker has tested positive in the past 28 days.
Prisons, jails and juvenile lockups were identified early in the pandemic as sites where covid-19 could spread rapidly.
Officials have struggled to keep the virus contained even when they identified outbreaks, while prisoners and their families have accused the Arkansas Department of Corrections of bungling their response to the virus. The Marshall Project, a nonprofit covering criminal justice, has said Arkansas is among the worst states in per capita infections at prisons.
People who think they may have covid-19 should call their health care providers or schedule a test at a local health unit, according to the state Department of Health.
A health care provider will decide if a test is appropriate based on the symptoms and possible exposure to the coronavirus.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is also offering free screenings online and over the phone at (800) 632-4502.
For children, Arkansas Children's Hospital is offering drive-thru screenings and phone screenings at (800) 743-3616.
Coronavirus testing and screening locations in Arkansas
How Arkansas compares in testing
Cumulative covid-19 cases in the United States by state
Covid-19 cases in the United States by state
The outbreak in the United States first emerged in Washington state after a resident tested positive on January 20, 2020.
The first coronavirus-related death occurred in Northern California's Santa Clara County on February 6, 2020.
Cases have been discovered in all 50 states after West Virginia reported its first on March 17, 2020, although testing and reporting discrepancies exist among different states.
Thousands of new cases are now being detected across the country each day.
Cumulative covid-19 cases 800 days since 100th case
The ongoing global pandemic can be traced back to November 2019 in Hubei, China.
About this page
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is no longer updating this page, which uses data from the Arkansas Department of Health, Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and The New York Times. Additional historical data has been provided by The COVID Tracking Project.
Data compiled here only track the numbers of reported cases. More cases most likely exist among individuals who have not been tested.
This page has been updated by Brian Smith and David Wilson. Please contact Brian Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
Original data visualization, design and development by Yutao Chen.
Lead photo by Stephen Swofford.