Arkansas set another new record for new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Thursday, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson 878 new since Wednesday.
The increase brings the total case count to 22,075. Of those, 6,098 are active cases.
Hospitalizations declined by three to 272, and there were two additional deaths, bringing the toll to 279.
Of the new cases announced Thursday, 151 are from Hot Spring County. Washington County reported 117 new cases, Pulaski County reported 98, Benton County reported 75, Sebastian County reported 55, Faulkner County reported 35, and Crawford County reported 23.
Hutchinson said 7,089 tests had been conducted in the past 24 hours.
“With the numbers that have come in from yesterday, obviously this is not good news,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith. “We had a downward trend, but with 878 new cases, that is our single highest day, and as the governor has mentioned, twice as high as yesterday.”
Smith said 15,698 people are considered recovered.
Smith once again expressed concern over the increases in Washington County, as well as the relatively low number of individuals being tested in the county.
“We have been trying to increase the amount of testing, making that more available to the residents there,” he said. “It is important that we find these cases so we can implement isolation and then quarantine of contacts.”
Smith stressed the importance of 14 days of self-quarantine for people who are known to have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, even for those who have tested negative for the virus.
He showed a chart that illustrates how there are many people who are tested early in their infection period that might test negative for COVID-19 because the amount of virus in their system may not be high enough to show up in tests, and may then show a false negative.
“It is very important, if someone has been exposed to someone who has tested positive, they need to be in 14 days of quarantine regardness of the result of that test,” he said. “We still want them to get tested because if it comes back positive, then we can begin working on their contacts as well.
“Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do because you know what to do because you already heard me say it,” he said.