Arkansas ends COVID-19 test requirement for elective surgeries, city-level data updated


Arkansas has ended its COVID-19 testing requirement for people undergoing elective surgeries.

The decision on whether elective surgery patients should be tested for coronavirus before having a surgery is now up to each individual medical center.

The announcement was made Thursday by Dr. Jose Romero, interim secretary of the Health Department, during Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s coronavirus press briefing.

Romero said the amount of people who have so far tested positive before an elective surgery is too low for the state to continue with such a broad rule.

Hutchinson agreed, and said the number was “far less” than one percent.

“For the reason that it was clogging up the system and that it was taking up testing capacity, we wanted to leave that discretion to the hospitals,” Hutchinson said.

Case update

The state has reported 791 new COVID-19 cases since Wednesday, the governor said.

Hutchinson stated that the new cumulative case count was 41,559, however, Wednesday’s count was 40,968 which means an additional 791 cases would actually put the statewide tally at 41,759.

Of Thursday’s new cases, 32 are from correctional facilities.

Romero said hospitalizations are down four to 504, and patients on a ventilator are down seven to 101.

Eight more Arkansans have died from the illness, bringing the state’s death toll to 442.

Romero said there are currently 6,580 active cases across the state and that 34,707 people have so far recovered.

The top Arkansas counties with more than 20 new COVID-19 cases as of Thrusday are Pulaski (73), Sebastian (57), Benton (47), Garland (44), Washington (37), Independence (34), Jefferson (31), Pope (30), Craighead (29), Mississippi (23) and Faulkner (21).

City-level data updated

The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement has updated its city-level data to include a list of active and cumulative COVID-19 case counts in cities across the state.

As of July 27, the top 10 cities with the most active cases are:

1. Little Rock – 495
2. Springdale – 421
3. Fort Smith – 348
4. Jonesboro – 189
5. Rogers – 185
6. Pine Bluff – 168
7. Russellville – 166
8. Conway – 150
9. Hot Springs – 136
10. Fayetteville – 136

The top cities with the most cumulative cases are:

1. Springdale – 4,831
2. Little Rock – 2,362
3. Rogers – 2,345
4. Fort Smith – 1,289
5. Russellville – 847
6. Jonesboro – 835
7. Conway – 811
8. Fayetteville – 790
9. De Queen – 786
10. North Little Rock – 730

Both lists are available at Cities with fewer than 10 cases are not included.