332 new COVID-19 statewide cases, with nine new hospitalizations and 11 deaths

(06/18/20)  322 new COVID-19 statewide cases, with nine new hospitalizations and 11 deaths  The following stats were shared Thursday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Fort Smith and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website:

  • 13,928 total confirmed cases, up 322 from 13,606 on Wednesday.
  • 4,344 active cases, down 69 from Wednesday.
  • 9,376 recoveries, up 380 from Wednesday.
  • 208 deaths, up 11 from Wednesday.
  • 226 cases requiring hospitalization, up nine from Wednesday.
  • 170 cases in Garland County, up five from Wednesday.
  • 144 recoveries in Garland County, up seven from Wednesday.
  • 1 death in Garland County, no change from Wednesday.

There were a total of 6,654 tests completed in the past 24 hours. The counties with the highest number of new cases were Washington (46), Benton (33) and Pulaski (23). Of the 11 deaths reported, 10 were from the 65-and-older age group. Hutchinson said this is “a reminder to young people that while you might survive this very well and not have any repercussions, but who are you communicating with and who you might expose, and the vulnerability of those over 65 we have to keep in mind.”

Hutchinson, while referring to the rising hospitalizations, said they are concerned and that it’s being watched very closely. He added that there is sufficient capacity statewide, “but by region we want to watch it very carefully.”

The governor announced that the public health emergency that would have expired tomorrow will be extended for another 45 days. He drew attention to paragraph five of the executive order:

The Secretary of Health may issue orders of isolation and quarantine as necessary and appropriate to control the spread of COVID-19 in Arkansas, and the Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Governor, shall have sole authority over all instances of quarantine, isolation, and restrictions on commerce and travel throughout the state. Cities and counties shall not impose any restriction of commerce or travel that is more restrictive than a directive or guideline issued by the Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Governor. 

“I think this is important that we move as a state together,” he said. “Guidance from mayors should not be more restrictive than the states under the executive order.” 

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, from the Arkansas Department of Health, in providing additional COVID-19 statistic updates, shared that the number of active community cases is at 3,558. She said that this number gives her the opportunity to stress again the importance of social distancing, wearing a face mask in public, and not going places unnecessarily. “If a majority of Arkansans were to wear their cloth face coverings when they’re out in public, we could greatly reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in Arkansas, but it’s going to take all of us working together,” she said. “Children, when they go to school or go to the university, are not going to be able to remain safe if their parents cannot remain safe; their parents will not be able to remain safe if their worksites are not safe; people who reside in nursing homes will not be able to remain safe if their visitors to those nursing homes cannot remain safe; and those visitors will not be able to remain safe if their communities cannot remain safe.”

Hutchinson shared that the first meeting of the task force for the future to advance the state of law enforcement in Arkansas was held today, and that it was “historical and meaningful” that their first meeting was in the United States Marshals Museum. He also announced that he ended early the 30-day emergency that was established because of the civil unrest in which a unified command was established and parts of the National Guard were mobilized.