Arkansas COVID-19 cases up for a second-straight single-day record with 524 new community cases

(06/12/20)  Arkansas COVID-19 cases up for a second-straight single-day record with 524 new community cases for a new cumulative total of 11,574  The following stats were shared Friday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website:

  • 11,574 total confirmed cases, up 731 from 10,816 on Thursday.
  • 3,764 active cases, up 470 from Thursday.
  • 7,607 recoveries, up 256 from Thursday.
  • 176 deaths, up five from Thursday.
  • 203 cases requiring hospitalization, up 16 from Thursday.
  • 49 cases on a ventilator, up four from Thursday.
  • 509 cases among nursing homes, up seven from Thursday.
  • 154 cases in Garland County, up one from Thursday.
  • 134 recoveries in Garland County, no change from Thursday.
  • 1 death in Garland County, no change from Thursday.

In recognition of the highest single-day rise in overall and community cases since the pandemic started, as well as a jump in 16 new COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization, Gov. Hutchinson began his press conference by thanking all of the state’s healthcare workers. “First, I want to thank all of our healthcare workers that are doing really extraordinary work under very difficult circumstances in the heat of the fight for lives in the hospitals,” he said. “And no one can understand what you’re going through, and we’re grateful for you, particularly those who are seeing the increased number of cases in hospitalizations in Northwest Arkansas.” He added that that the healthcare workers in the Northwest part of the state “are under a strain right now, and we recognize that.”

Of the new 731 cases, 524 are community cases and 207 are from correctional facilities, mainly from the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Lee County. There are now 3,218 active community cases. The counties with the highest new case counts include Washington (220), Benton (91), Lee (32), Madison (32), Pulaski (25) and Sebastian (24).

There was a total of 5,591 test reports received yesterday, and the preliminary positivity rate is 7.1%, which Hutchinson said “is higher than what we’ve had.” The state’s cumulative positivity rate is at 6.2%.

Among the test results included in today’s figures come from the Tyson Foods plant in Springdale, where the company tested all 1,102 employees with 199 positive results. Hutchinson made a point to share that only one of those positive cases was symptomatic. “Now think about where those 198 were the day before they were tested – in the community, in with their families, buying groceries,” he said. Many in the community are “out there not showing any symptoms, yet they are capable of spreading the virus,” he added.

He and Dr. Jose Romero emphasized the importance of the “simple, yet important” guidelines from the CDC:  

  • Stay at least 6 feet away
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time
  • Use hand sanitizer if washing hands is not an option
  • Wear a face covering to protect others, and keep the covering on your face the entire time you’re in public

Hutchinson explained that adherence to these “allows us to do business, go to school, to go to work, to live life...If not, we are going to continue to see cases go up for an undetermined time in the future.”

The governor announced that because of the state’s need for contact tracing from this spike in cases, he authorized 20 national guard members who are specialized and have the capabilities to help with contact tracing to immediately be brought into active duty to assist the Department of Health. He said that the request for qualifications (RFQ) to select a vendor that will be assisting in the contact tracing efforts is being accelerated.  

“As I look into next week, I do expect the cases to increase, particularly in Northwest Arkansas,” he said.