Nate Smith

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, and state Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith discuss the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic on June 29, 2020 (Photo: KATV)

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Arkansas officials on Monday reported that the state had surpassed 20,000 cases of the coronavirus.

There were 439 new cases reported, bringing the total to 20,257. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a news conference that the number of new cases has recently trended downward but warned that the trend could change. He cited social media posts over the weekend that show parties and other large gatherings in the state where people did not wear protective masks or practice social distancing. At a restaurant in Little Rock, customers got into a brawl over social distancing and coughing.

"I would caution you that we don't know what this last weekend will bring," Hutchinson said. "Not everyone behaved well over the weekend. So it will take a few days to see if there's any result from that."

Arkansas isn't the only state worried about such behavior. Hutchinson said that he and other governors expressed "a great deal of concern" about the matter during a conference call with Vice President Mike Pence on Monday morning. He said the group talked ways to "enhance" compliance with health guidelines and expand testing.

State Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said there are 5,926 cases of the virus considered to be active. He said the number of active cases has reached a plateau.

Smith also said that multiple Department of Health employees had tested positive for the virus but there was no evidence that the virus was spreading within the department. Those exposed to the virus have been quarantined at home.

Nationwide, nearly 126,000 people had died and 2.56 million had been infected Monday.

This article originally ran on ktbs.com.

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