649 new cases and 21 deaths reported today

8-26-20 ADH daily graphicThe following statistics were shared Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 58,023 total confirmed cases, up 649 from 57,374 on Tuesday. 
  • 5,390 active cases, up 78 from Tuesday.
  • 51,351 recoveries, up 662 from Tuesday.
  • 732 deaths, up 21 from Tuesday.
  • 435 cases requiring hospitalization, down seven from Tuesday.
  • 108 cases requiring a ventilator, no change from Tuesday. 
  • 1,348 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 28 from Tuesday.
  • 147 active cases in Garland County, up five from Tuesday.
  • 1,173 recoveries in Garland County, up 22 from Tuesday.
  • 28 deaths in Garland County, up one from Tuesday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases in Arkansas was 649, with 593 being from the community and 56 from correctional facilities. Counties with the number of new cases higher than 20 in the past 24 hours include Pulaski with 78, Jefferson with 44, Benton with 34, Sebastian with 31, Garland with 26 and Washington with 26. The number of tests completed in the past 24 hours was 4,372. 

Hutchinson shared at the onset of the press conference that there are currently no cases at Cummins Unit and no cases at Ouachita River Unit. Both were correctional facilities that had previous outbreaks of the virus.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, medical director of immunizations with ADH, talked about the most effective face masks. She explained that at least two layers of material are needed. Face coverings with valves are not acceptable and do not meet the mandate. ADH is also encouraging individuals not to use bandanas or neck gaiters, or at least to double them to ensure proper safety. 

Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) deputy commissioner, gave a reminder for anyone with questions or concerns relating to public K-12 schools about the availability of the Ready for School Resource Call Center at 1-833-353-6050 or 501-218-4015 (Spanish), 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Breanna Burris, kindergarten teacher at Oaklawn STEM Magnet School in the Hot Springs School District, was highlighted. She is a second-year teacher, and she was invited to offer advice to first-year teachers in the state. Her letter is featured on the Department of Education website. 

Hutchinson shared that ADE is distributing 70,000 face shields for every school employee at the school districts across the state.

Hutchinson and ADH have discussed the recent change in CDC recommendations regarding asymptomatic individuals and testing, and the state is still encouraging anyone who has had possible exposure, whether symptomatic or not, to seek out a COVID-19 test. 

Hutchinson declared an emergency and allocated $250,000 of emergency funds for preparation for what is being anticipated with the approaching hurricane and the associated flash flooding, high winds, downed trees and the potential for power outages. He encouraged Arkansans to pay attention to weather forecasts to know the timeframe and direction of Hurricane Laura, which could enter the state as a tropical storm. He said for motorists not to drive past or around barricades, and to be on the lookout for downed power lines. 

Hutchinson said that tomorrow’s COVID-19 briefing will include the method of how school district case statistics will be managed moving forward.