Arkansas COVID-19 cases up to 6,180

(05/26/20)  Arkansas COVID-19 cases up to 6,180  The following stats were shared Tuesday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website:

  • 6,180 total confirmed cases, up 722 from 5,458 on Friday.
  • 1,729 active cases, up 259 from Friday.
  • 4.332 recoveries, up 303 from Friday.
  • 119 deaths, up six from Friday.
  • 107 cases requiring hospitalization, up 26 from Friday.
  • 18 cases on a ventilator, up four from Friday.
  • 361 cases involving nursing home residents, up 11 from Friday.
  • 134 cases in Garland County, up two from Friday.
  • 127 recoveries in Garland County, up four from Friday.
  • 1 death in Garland County, no change from Friday.

There were a total of 2,984 test results received in the past 24 hours with a positivity rate of 3.3%. Over the holiday weekend, the state surpassed the goal of 60,000 tests, or more than 2% of the state population, for the month. In the last 24 hours, there were 151 positive cases, with one being from a correctional facility. The counties with higher numbers from the recent report include Washington (29), Sevier (17), Benton (16) and St. Francis (13).

There has been an increase in cases associated with poultry employees. A total of 301 cases come from that industry. The counties with the most poultry cases include Benton (69), Yell (54), Washington (44), as well as Sevier and Polk.

Of the overall cases, Dr. Nate Smith shared that 50.7% are white, 37.1% are African American and 10.2% are Hispanic. In the past 24 hours, though, the Hispanic rate was at 42% of the 150 community cases. For age ranges, Smith shared that 39.3% are from the 25-44 age range and only 14.3% are from the 65-and-greater age range. Of the deaths, though, 74% are from the 65-and-greater age range.

As the data of hospitalizations and new and active cases indicate the state is in its second peak following the rise a month ago. A predictive model provided by the UAMS School of Public Health on May 21 estimates a total of around 8,500 total cases on by June 21, but the governor challenged Arkansans that we can work to keep the actual numbers below that estimate as has happened with previous projections.

“The vast majority of Arkansans are really paying attention to follow the guidelines and are making sure they do not contribute to spread of this virus,” he said. But, in referring to the holiday weekend, “there were more than a few that put their own comfort and convenience above the health of others, and that is not helpful. Graphs show we are at a critical point,” he said, in terms of the graphs showing us in our second peak and the fact that Phase 2 will not be a possibility as long as we are trending upward.

Smith echoed the governor’s concerns and said that moving forward, the response to the virus will depend more on not only public health interventions (testing and contact tracing), but also the individual decisions and behavior, like wearing masks in public, maintaining distance of six feet and not gathering in large groups. When someone asked Smith why we are worried about a disease where maybe up to 99% of people recover, and he said that leaves 1% who do not. An example is a recent death of a woman who was infected at a Mother’s Day gathering, “and that’s tragic,” he said. “We need to think about what we are doing, and how it may impact the people we care about.” If 1% of the population in Arkansas died, that would be 30,000 deaths. “That’s not acceptable; we need to take action,” he said.

The governor gave an update on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. They worked through the weekend and $16.8 million has been sent to more than 15,000 claimants as of this morning. Around 10,000 of those who are eligible have not filed weekly claims at

The governor also announced that Smith has accepted a position with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and has stayed on to help Arkansas through this health crisis. His last day as the Secretary of Health will be August 28, after which Dr. Jose Romero will serve as Interim Secretary of Health. Romero is the ADH Chief Medical Officer and infectious disease specialist at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Locally, along with the nine testing sites in the county, Healthy Connections Community Health Network is offering popup testing, with two days dedicated to locations in Garland County:

  • Thursday, May 28 - 3604 Central Avenue, Hot Springs (Healthy Connections clinic parking lot).
  • Friday, May 29 - 121 Cordoba Center Drive, Hot Springs Village (Century 21 parking lot).