As our state deals with the spread of covid-19 in the midst of a global outbreak, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will publish five things you need to know each week. We’ll be publishing these round-ups in English, Spanish and Marshallese. You can read our full coverage at arkansasonline.com/coronavirus/. Coronavirus coverage pertaining to crucial public health information will be available for all readers.
• Arkansas has 102,798 confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data posted Oct. 23. State health officials also have reported 1,772 confirmed and probable deaths and 92,288 recoveries.
• The CDC changed its definition of a "close contact" who is required to quarantine because of exposure to someone with the virus. The new guidance defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of the infected person for a total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, regardless of whether the minutes were consecutive or divided over that period.
• Cumulative cases in Arkansas surpassed 100,000 this week, with the highest one-day jump on Oct. 22 with 1,202.
• Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Oct. 20 that he's limiting his meetings and public appearances after a person he met with on Oct. 16 tested positive for the coronavirus. His announcement was made the same day the state's budget director, the head of the state Department of Corrections, a state senator and two state representatives said they had contracted the virus. Since then, two more state lawmakers have tested positive.
• Early voting began Oct. 19. The Arkansas Department of Health recommends that voters take precautions such as wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others. Masks advertising candidates are not allowed. Some counties offer styluses so voters don’t have to touch voting machines.