Governor provides update on Arkansas COVID-19 cases


The number of Arkansans hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 continues to rise steadily, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in his Wednesday briefing in Fayetteville.

Hospitalizations in the state have increased by six since Tuesday, bringing the total to another new high at 138. Six Arkansans died since yesterday, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to 142.

Cases increased by 249 since yesterday, bringing the total of confirmed cases in the state to 8,067. Of those, 2,208 are active, with 107 cases coming from nursing homes, 55 from correctional facilities, and 2,015 from the community.

Northwest Arkansas was the largest growth region in the state once again in new cases, with 28 in Washington County and 20 in Benton County. Pulaski County had the highest number of new cases with 33, Sevier County had 23 new cases, and Crittenden County reported 18 new cases since yesterday.

The state received 3,872 completed test results since yesterday, with a positivity rate of 4.8 percent. A total of 7,717 tests have been performed so far in June toward the governor’s stated goal of 120,000 he hopes to reach by the end of the month. 5,717 patients have recovered from the illness, which is an increase of 150 since yesterday.

Currently, 30 Arkansans are on a ventilator, which is one less than yesterday.

Secretary of Dr. Heath Nate Smith said that of the 142 deaths in the state, 55 have come from nursing home residents which accounts for 39% of the total deaths despite those individuals making up around 5% of the known cases in the state.

Arkansas Health Care Association official Rachel Bunch said despite the challenges, Arkansas is faring better than many other states in protecting its nursing home residents. According to a study published this week, Bunch said, Arkansas has a rate of 23.6 known cases for every 1,000 nursing home residents in Arkansas, compared to a national average of 62 cases per 1,000.

State officials had previously announced plans to test every nursing home resident in the state as one of several measures to try and protect those residents.

Bunch said the state expects the increase in testing long-term care residents to also cause an increase in cases identified in the state.

“While an increase in these numbers might be startling, and that is what we expect, it will improve our ability to confront the threat of the virus and further protect our patients,” she said.

Bunch added that the state is also using a new, less-invasive COVID-19 test for testing its nursing home residents.