(07/23/20) 1,008 new community cases

Largest single-day jump in community cases for pandemic

The following statistics were shared Wednesday, July 23, at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website:

  • 36,259 total confirmed cases, up 1,013 from 35,240 on Wednesday.
  • 7,009 active cases, up 133 from Wednesday.
  • 28,864 recoveries, up 874 from Wednesday.
  • 386 deaths, up six from Wednesday.
  • 480 cases requiring hospitalization, up six from Wednesday.
  • 107 cases requiring a ventilator, no change from Wednesday.  
  • 549 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 50 cases from Tuesday (today’s data not yet available).
  • 189 active cases in Garland County, up 25 from Tuesday (today’s data not yet available).
  • 355 recoveries in Garland County, up 25 from Tuesday (today’s data not yet available).
  • 5 deaths in Garland County, no change from Tuesday (today’s data not yet available).

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases was 1,013, with five from correctional facilities and 1,008 from the community – the largest single-day community count to date. The top counties with new cases were Pulaski (113), Washington (76), Benton (73), Sebastian (65), Craighead (41), Crittenden (43), and numerous other counties with 25-30 cases. There was a total of 5,487 test results reported in the past 24 hours.

Hutchinson announced that Solomon Graves will be the next Secretary of Corrections following the resignation of former Secretary Wendy Kelly. Graves is formerly the Chief of Staff at the Department of Corrections.

The governor also gave an update regarding COVID-19 cases within the Department of Corrections. There are currently 841 active cases, plus a small number in county jails for a total of 869 in correctional facilities. The largest number from any unit is at the Ouachita River Unit in Malvern, with 577 active cases. He said the reason this is of special concern is because this population includes all of those with special needs within the state’s prison environment, inmates with medical or mental health issues and elderly inmates. The governor said they expect an increase in hospitalizations from this unit, and are concerned about health consequences because of these inmates’ underlying conditions. The unit has a total capacity of 1,900, but because they have stopped taking inmates from counties, they are staying at their current count of 1,739 inmates. The next-highest correctional facility in terms of active cases is the Cummins Unit, with 62. There have been a total of 21 deaths of inmates in correctional facilities from COVID-19. Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said that all individuals in correctional facilities have been given at least two face coverings, and all are screened daily for temperature and other symptoms at the time of their meals.

Romero explained that the daily positivity rate is determined by the total number of tests on any given day and the number of positive tests that come from that given day, which is why the positivity rate for a given day may change over time as test results arrive.

He also shared that today or tomorrow, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) will be posting updated recommendations for congregate living centers that have individual housing units. Visitation will be determined per housing unit for these facilities. If a housing unit has not had any COVID-19 cases, they can receive visitors. If there have been positive cases, a 28-day period of no new cases will have to pass before visitors can be allowed. 

Lastly, he said that ADH staff have identified electronic measures to more rapidly receive data from labs and from coroners. ADH is in the process of putting these measures into place, and will be doing so over the upcoming weeks and months.