The number of known positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas reached 63,081 on Thursday, which is an increase of 969 since Wednesday.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the numbers during his coronavirus press briefing at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock.
Hutchinson attributed the spike to outbreaks on college campuses, and said 81% of the new cases are from people ages 18-24.
“I think it can safely be surmised that many of those new cases are college students,” he said.
Hutchinson said the rise is a signal that there’s a lot of work left to do in Arkansas, particularly when it comes to educating younger people about the importance of following health guidelines.
“We need all of our college-aged kids to take this more seriously than the average college student takes a pandemic,” he said. “We ask you to make sure you help protect others, especially over the (Labor Day) weekend, so we can continue to have the kind of school year we all expect.”
Of the new cases announced Thursday, 23 are from correctional facilities and 946 are from the general community, said Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero.
The top counties for new cases the past 24 hours are Washington (211), Pulaski (90), Benton (47), Jefferson (38), Sebastian (36), Saline (33), Faulkner (27) and Craighead (25).
Hospitalizations are down 10 to 425, and patients on a ventilator are up one to 91.
There were 20 new deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 861.
As of Thursday, there are 5,331 active cases, which is an increase of 321 since Wednesday. There are so far 56,889 people who have bee categorized as having recovered from the illness.
Hutchinson said 7,827 tests had been conducted in the past 24 hours. The state has so far reported 12,744 tests in September.