The number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas increased by 314 to 9,740 and hospitalizations jumped 18% overnight, according to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Twenty-six patients were admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 since Sunday for a total of 171 hospitalizations statewide, and 11 more people are now on ventilators for a total of 46.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith called the rise in hospitalizations “concerning,” but said it’s not a surprise and noted that the state is “not anywhere near” hospital capacity.
“We’re not in danger of exceeding our capacity, but we’ll be checking with the hospitals that have received patients to make sure that no individual hospital is being overtasked,” he said. It’s possible, Smith said, patients could be transferred if a particular hospital becomes overwhelmed.
Smith said an increase in hospitalizations should be expected after the recent jump in new cases, and more deaths will likely soon follow. The overall death toll was up by only one from Sunday to 155.
While the lag in deaths is not surprising, Smith said many of the more recent cases have come from younger people, meaning the likelihood of recovery is greater.
The 314 new cases is one of the higher rises since the pandemic began, and contributes to a total of 2,297 new cases in the past week. In contrast, the previous seven-day case count increase was 1,369. In all, the number of positive cases has increased by 31% since June 1.
Testing has also been ramped up this month, said Smith, who noted that over 4,000 people have been tested each day since June 2, putting the state ahead of its target to conduct 120,000 tests in June. That goal is double what officials had targeted in May when they hoped for 60,000 tests – a goal that was surpassed by nearly 21,000.
Of the new cases reported Monday, six had ties correctional facilities, Smith said. The remaining cases were from the general statewide community.
Northwest Arkansas continues to lead the state in new case counts.
Washington County had 86 new cases Monday for a total of 1,102, meaning it’s now only 14 cases away from Pulaski County, which leads the state at 1,116 cases.
Benton County is also on pace to surpass Pulaski County, adding 41 new cases Monday for a total of 997.
All other counties in Arkansas had less than 15 new cases Monday.
Of the 9,740 Arkansans who have tested positive, 2,955 cases are considered active, meaning 6,630 patients have so far recovered.