(07/06/20) Upward trend in Central Region

Governor, ADH keeping eye on Central Region and hospitalizations

The following statistics were shared Monday, July 6, at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website:

  • 24,253 total confirmed cases, up 2,178 from 22,075 on Thursday.
  • 6,127 active cases, up 29 from Thursday.
  • 17,834 recoveries, up 2,136 from Thursday.
  • 292 deaths, up 13 from Thursday.
  • 337 cases requiring hospitalization, up 65 from Thursday.
  • 81 cases requiring a ventilator, up 12 from Thursday.  
  • 285 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 18 from Thursday.
  • 75 active cases in Garland County, down six from Thursday.
  • 209 recoveries in Garland County, up 24 from Thursday.
  • 1 death in Garland County, no change from Thursday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases was 439, with eight from correctional facilities and 431 from the community. On Saturday, there were 587 new cases added; on Sunday, there were 605 new cases. The counties with the highest number of new cases are Washington (77), Pulaski (46), Yell (36) and Benton (36). There were a total of 3,615 test results reported in the past 24 hours. The July goal for statewide testing was increased from 180,000 to 200,000.

The governor and Dr. Nate Smith both discussed trends in the various regions of the state, which shows a promising drop in cases from the surge in Northwest Arkansas and a concerning upward trend over the past 10 days in the Central Region. “As the governor mentioned, I’m particularly concerned about Central Arkansas where we have been seeing steady increases; we have a high population density here and a lot of individuals at risk,” said Smith. He added that unlike the spike in Northwest Arkansas, the cases in the Central Region are more widespread and cannot be traced to particular groups or settings.

The governor shared that they are also concerned about the rate of positive test results as there have been several days in the past week that exceeded the 10% positivity rate mark, including the preliminary positivity rate from the past 24-hour period.

Hospitalization rates across the state are also being monitored closely, and the governor started today’s press conference by thanking all of the healthcare workers, who he said were doing their work on a heavy caseload while others were out celebrating the Fourth of July weekend. Although the number of hospitalizations has been on the rise, and particularly over the weekend, Hutchinson said that hospitalizations are spread throughout the state; thus, capacity has not been reached.

Hutchinson also announced details about the expansion of the Arkansas Department of Health’s contact tracing capacity. In addition to their current 320 in-house contact tracing team, an additional 350 will be added starting this week courtesy of a one-year, $20 million contract with General Dynamics. For anyone interested in possibly applying to be a contact tracer, visit www.gdit.com/careers. Another planned $20 million contract will provide an additional 350 contact tracers. In the end, there will be nearly 1,000 contact tracers in place. ADH Chief of Staff Stephanie Williams said they are trying to accelerate how quickly they reach people to let them know about potential exposure. She shared the phone number people will see on their caller ID from contact tracers, which is 877-272-6819 or 877-ARCOV19. She said it would be helpful if residents would answer on ADH’s first call attempt. She said contact tracers typically will not call after 8 p.m., and they will not ask for money. Rather, they will provide information the resident can verify.