Arkansas COVID-19 cases top 700, with 71 hospitalized

Secretary of health Nate Smith addresses the media Friday

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has topped 700, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced in his daily briefing on Friday.

The case count was 704 as of 1:30 p.m., up 61 from Thursday. Seventy-one people are currently hospitalized as a result of the virus, and there were no new deaths since Thursday’s report.

Hutchinson also announced that the state has procured its first shipment of personal protective equipment for hospitals on Friday. Hutchinson said the state has received supplies from the national stockpile previously, but this is the first shipment the state has been able to secure from their own efforts.

Hutchinson also said testing has continued to increase in the state. Nearly 10,000 tests have been administered in the state, he said, with 7.3% positive results for the virus.

He continued to tout his ‘targeted response’ method to closing of businesses in the state on Friday over stay at home orders that have been issued in other states around the country.

“Our social distancing is so critically important,” he said. “I have been very impressed with how seriously businesses have taken social distancing requirements.”

“This is something that every person in Arkansas should feel the need to contribute to, to be responsible for, and to engage in,” he said. “That is what we are asking Arkansans to do, is simply to follow these best practices. They are working, we want to you to continue to do that, and it’ll make all the difference for every citizen in Arkansas, and everyones lives that we care so deeply about.”

Update on the numbers

The 704 cases on Friday included one new county, Monroe County, according to Secretary of Health Nate Smith.

Of the cases, 20 children under 18 years old have tested positive for the virus, with 197 individuals aged 65 and older, and 427 cases come from people aged 18-64.

71 individuals are currently hospitalized as a result of the virus (up 5 from yesterday), with 26 currently on a ventilator (up 3). 53 positive cases are nursing home residents, and 60 people have recovered.

There are 96 health care workers currently with the virus, Smith said, up five from yesterday. Of those, 10 are physicians, 28 are nurses, 4 are certified nursing assistants, and the rest are other licensed or unlicensed healthcare workers.

Smith said the total number of tests conducted in the state are at 9,626, with 7.3% positive cases. 658 of those reports came on Friday. Of those, 62 were conducted by UAMS, 144 were conducted by the Arkansas Department of Heath, and 422 were reported by commercial labs.

Of the 704 cases, 8.5% have diabetes, Smith said. Of the cases that have been hospitalized, 30% have diabetes, and 38% of those in ICU have the condition.

Overall, 7.7% of known cases have heart disease. 23% of hospitalized cases have heart disease, with 27% of cases in the ICU with the condition.

For chronic lung disease, 4.4 % of COVID-19 patients in the state have the condition. 14% of hospitalized cases have chronic lung disease, and 16% of those admitted to the ICU have the condition.

Men make up only about 40% of the total cases in the state, but 53% of hospitalized cases are male, and 62% of those in ICU are men, Smith said.