Arkansas COVID-19 cases up to 226 to 8,651

(06/05/20)  Arkansas COVID-19 cases up 226 to 8,651  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:

  • 8,651 total confirmed cases, up 226 from 8,425 on Thursday.
  • 152 deaths, up one from Thursday.
  • 147 cases requiring hospitalization, up 10 from Thursday.
  • 138 cases in Garland County, no change from Thursday.
  • 132 recoveries in Garland County, no change from Thursday.
  • 1 death in Garland County, no change from Thursday.

Not all of the usual COVID-19 stats were made available at the news conference, including the new and total number of active cases, new and total number of recoveries and new and total number of cases on a ventilator. The breakdown of new cases by region and counties with the highest numbers were also not provided.

There were a total of 3,846 test results processed in the past 24 hours, and the current positivity rate for yesterday is 3.1%. Hutchinson pointed out that the positivity rate over the past 40 days has only exceeded the 10% mark one time. He also shared statistics relating to testing across Arkansas, and said that the data reveals they are “really testing in every region of the state, and it gives us a good sense in terms of where we are in terms of the spread of COVID-19.” He said this was a key factor in the idea of reopening with a regional approach. More information will be shared about this on Monday.

The governor and Dr. Nate Smith provided a breakdown of the contact tracing efforts from the 190 new cases reported on June 1. A total of 144 of the individuals were successfully contacted; 29 were unable to be contacted; and 17 are pending assignment for case investigation. Of those contacted, 87 had successful contact tracing and 222 contacts were identified. The governor explained that means a total of 412 “lives were touched by these cases,” and they have to isolate and quarantine. There were 115 who were linked with other known cases or clusters. Of those contacted, there were still insignificant numbers of those visiting barber shops, gyms and other places where restrictions have been lifted.

There are currently close to 240 individuals working on contact tracing with the Arkansas Department of Health, but Smith said that next week an additional 100 volunteers from various organizations who have stepped up to assist will be trained in contact tracing. Also, within a couple of months they expect to more than double their full-time contact tracing capabilities as today a request for qualifications went out to contract with an organization to provide an additional 350 contact tracers and everything they need to be successful.

The governor noted the peaceful demonstrations across the state, and that he has been pleased with the use of face masks. He said that when a person asks him, “What do we need to do to help you to beat COVID-19?” that he simply responds, “Take it seriously, every day, and don’t let down on your discipline and your awareness of this virus and the damage that it can do. And, beyond that, let’s live life; let’s just live it carefully and manage the risks.”