Arkansas COVID-19 cases up to 5,612

(05/22/20)  Arkansas COVID-19 cases up to 5,612  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:

  • 5,612 total confirmed cases, up 154 from 5,458 on Thursday.
  • 1,470 active cases, up 37 from Thursday.
  • 4,029 recoveries, up 114 from Thursday.
  • 113 deaths, up three from Thursday.
  • 81 cases requiring hospitalization, down five from Thursday.
  • 14 cases on a ventilator, no change from Thursday.
  • 350 cases involving nursing home residents, up 20 from Thursday.
  • 132 cases in Garland County, up one from Thursday.
  • 123 recoveries in Garland County, up two from Thursday.
  • 1 death in Garland County, no change from Thursday.

Of the 154 new cases, 135 are from the community and 19 are from correctional facilities. There were a total of 2,909 tests processed, and they reported a positivity rate of 4.4%. Of the community cases, 32 are from Washington County, and more than half of those came from three households as determined by Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) contact tracing. Eight cases in Greene county came from the same street. Hutchinson said these cases show us the quickness of the spread of COVID-19 in a household and community, and remind us we have to continue to be careful and practice our social distancing. Contact tracing efforts have been successful for 61%, or 137 individuals, of the 224 community cases from Wednesday. Of the ones contacted, 24% are known to have been in contact with previous COVID-19 cases and a total of 37 are connected with four employment sites. Only two had reported dining in at a restaurant.

Dr. Nate Smith shared that the directive for elective surgeries will again be updated, effective on Monday, May 25, in which all restrictions from ASA ratings will be lifted. The length of hospital stay restriction will also be lifted. Pre-procedure COVID-19 testing can be done within 72 hours, although 48 hours will still be preferred. No pre-procedure test will be required if the procedure is to be performed outside of a hospital setting with no co-mingling of hospital patients, and as long as there is no penetration of the body cavity or joint space in the planned procedure. The full directive will be posted on the ADH website at

Hutchinson shared that the Arkansas unemployment rate for April was 10.2%, which came in 4.5% less than the national unemployment rate of 14.7%. He hopes for May’s unemployment numbers to show an improvement in the state as businesses began reopening this month. There have been a total of 8,198 Ready for Business grants approved, and money will be sent out today through this weekend. There have been 7,105 claims paid, as of noon today, through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Funds will be distributed to another 3,000 claimants tonight. He encouraged those who have a claim pending and have received and email about the claim to go online at to finalize their weekly claim.

Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, shared some updates about the outdoors leading up to the Memorial Day weekend. The following state park trails, which were closed for the pandemic or due to storm debris, have been reopened: Cedar Falls Overlook Trail at Petit Jean State Park, Delta Heritage Trail and all trails at Cane Creek State Park near Star City. She reminded visitors that uniformed state parks staff will be monitoring and enforcing safe physical distancing. The U.S. Forest Service has reopened Whitaker Point Trail and the Glory Hole Falls Trail in the Ozark National Forest. Buffalo National River reopened, as well as Lost Valley Trail and Wolf Pen Gap.