Governor holds COVID-19 press conference in Rogers after uptick in NWA cases


The number of statewide COVID-19 cases reached 7,443 on Monday, which is an increase of 190 since Sunday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the news during his Monday briefing, which was held at Mercy hospital in Rogers.

Northwest Arkansas continues to see an increase in cases, with a total of 1,749 people who have so far contracted COVID-19. The positivity rate for the region is at about 5%.

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said testing has ramped up in Northwest Arkansas in recent weeks, but the region is still behind compared to other parts of the state. Smith said NWA has tested at a rate of 281 per 10,000 people, compared to 442 statewide.

Those figures need to change, he said.

“The point is not just to drive up numbers,” Smith said. “It’s to identify chains of transmission so that we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives.”

Smith focused mostly on Benton County, which he said has seen 607 total cases, almost half of which are from the Latino community. Rogers has led the case counts with 63% of positive patients. Benton County currently has 368 active cases, with 28% of those coming from poultry workers. Testing in Benton County, however, is higher than the average for the region at 432 tests per 10,000 people.

In Washington County, there have been 562 total cases and seven deaths. The active case count is at 362, meaning 193 patients have recovered since contracting the illness.

A total of 45 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Northwest Arkansas, but the governor said hospital space in the region is more than adequate.

Statewide case update

Of the 6,538 total known cases to date in Arkansas, 1,909 are considered active, meaning 5,401 patients have so far recovered from the illness. There were no additional deaths overnight, so the COVID-19 death toll in Arkansas stands at 133.

The governor said hospitalizations are up six to 121. Of those patients in a hospital, 26 are on a ventilator, which is a decrease of one since yesterday.

Of the active cases, 78 are in a nursing home, 54 are in a correctional facility and 1,777 are from the community-at-large.

Six more healthcare workers have contracted the virus since yesterday, along with seven nursing home residents and eight nursing home staff members.

Hutchinson said testing remains at an all-time high, and that 3,798 tests were conducted in last 24 hours. He said the state far surpassed its goal of 60,000 tests in the month of May with a total of 80,808 tests.

“This is an extraordinary pattern and we hope that can continue into June,” said Hutchinson.