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Arkansas public schools closed until the end of the week due to coronavirus concerns

Hutchinson says he recommends schools move to online instruction on Monday (March 16), but it will be mandatory on Tuesday (March 17).

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state continues to follow CDC guidelines, but as a result of parent's concerns, he has authorized each school district to close school for on-site instruction through the end of this week (March 16-20).

Hutchinson says he recommends schools move to online instruction on Monday (March 16), but it will be mandatory on Tuesday (March 17). Classes will resume after spring break which is March 23-27.

The closings do not apply to daycares.

Four more Arkansans have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), totaling 16 cases so far in Arkansas. 

RELATED: ADH reports 16 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, as of now, there are 30 people under investigation for COVID-19, 237 people being monitored by ADH with daily check-ins, and 1-3 people have tested negative for the virus. 

Of the four new cases, two are related to the first initial case in Jefferson County.

There are over 100 negative tests so far in Arkansas.

The ADH can now test up to 40 people a day for the virus and say that number should increase by the end of the week.

The governor told the public to avoid "panic buying" during this time.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined the governor to address price gouging in the state and has put into effect price gouging law. The law prohibits businesses from charging more than 10% above the pre-disaster price of goods or services.

Rutledge said a pharmacy in Central Arkansas price gouged cases of water from $4 to $8 after the outbreak. She said the state will be holding those responsible for price gouging. The penalty is high, for every violation, meaning each item sold, you can receive a fine of up to $10,000.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Arkansas: What you need to know

RELATED: Why we're closing schools, avoiding events, and suspending the NBA season to stop the coronavirus

ADH has activated a call center to answer questions from health care providers and the public about the novel coronavirus. During normal business hours (8 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.), urgent and non-urgent calls, please call 1-800-803-7847. After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response, please call 501-661-2136.

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