969 new cases; college campuses a rising concern

9-3-20 ADH daily graphicThe following statistics were shared Thursday, Sept. 3, at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 63,081 total confirmed cases, up 969 from 62,112 on Wednesday. 
  • 5,331 active cases, up 321 from Wednesday.
  • 56,889 recoveries, up 628 from Wednesday.
  • 861 deaths, up 20 from Wednesday.
  • 425 cases requiring hospitalization, down 10 from Wednesday.
  • 85 cases requiring a ventilator, down two from Wednesday. 
  • 1,479 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 21 from Wednesday .
  • 148 active cases in Garland County, up eight from Wednesday .
  • 1,301 recoveries in Garland County, up 13 from Wednesday .
  • 30 deaths in Garland County, no change from Wednesday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases in Arkansas was 969, with 946 from the community and 23 from correctional facilities. Counties with the number of new cases higher than 20 in the past 24 hours include Washington with 211 (81% were between the ages of 18-24, meaning they are most likely from the University of Arkansas campus), Pulaski with 90, Benton with 47, Jefferson with 38 (50% were between the ages of 18-24; meaning they are most likely from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff campus), Sebastian with 36, Saline with 33, Faulkner with 27 and Craighead with 25. 

The number of tests completed in the past 24 hours was 7,827. There were 533 antigen tests performed with 59 positive results. Additional information regarding antigen test totals will be regularly provided moving forward on the AHD website. 

Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said again that significant numbers are coming from college campuses, which is “the reflection of less than rigorous adherence to the recommendations that have been made over and over again…This will increase significantly more if it is not brought under control now.” 

Secretary Johnny Key provided two additional school districts making modifications to their instruction: Jacksonville Middle School is moving to virtual instruction on Friday, Sept. 4, and Earl Elementary School is moving virtual through Sept. 17. 

Secretary of Corrections Solomon Graves said that beginning on Sept. 8 the Department of Corrections will resume the intake of male prisoners to the Ouachita River Correctional Unit in Malvern. Intake was suspended in June due to an outbreak at that unit. New intakes will be in cohort groups of 50. The Department of Corrections also hopes to begin a phased reopening of visitation in October. 

Hutchinson addressed a lawsuit filed by a small group of state legislators, which challenges the executive authority to deal with the current emergency. He said this is not an attack on ADH, but rather on the executive authority he has acted under during the pandemic. He said the right to execute these actions was approved in 2017 by the Arkansas General Assembly, giving the governor flexibility to act quickly during such an emergency. “When people are dying, you don’t need delay, you need quick action. There is a national emergency, and 50 states have declared a national emergency. President Trump has declared a national emergency,” he said. “And we are acting based upon the authority the legislators have given to me.”

Hutchinson said he received and reviewed a letter yesterday from Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, encouraging ADH and the state to make preparations for doses of a possible vaccine to be delivered as early as Nov. 1.