(07/07/20) Record number of new hospitalizations

Lower new case count, but record number of hospitalizations 

The following statistics were shared Tuesday, July 7, at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website:

  • 24,512 total confirmed cases, up 259 from 24,253 on Monday.
  • 5,486 active cases, down 641 from Monday.
  • 18,725, recoveries, up 891 from Monday.
  • 301 deaths, up nine from Monday.
  • 369 cases requiring hospitalization, up 32 from Monday.
  • 83 cases requiring a ventilator, up two from Monday.  
  • 288 cumulative cases in Garland County, up three from Monday.
  • 75 active cases in Garland County, no change from Monday.
  • 212 recoveries in Garland County, up three from Monday.
  • 1 death in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases was 259, with 23 from correctional facilities and 236 from the community. The counties with the highest number of new cases are Pulaski (57), Benton (26) and Washington (14). There were a total of 3,366 test results reported in the past 24 hours.

“With two days of decreasing new cases I should be happier than I am,” said Dr. Nate Smith, Health Department secretary. “My joy of our lower number of new cases is modified due to the decreased testing that we saw over the weekend. This is just a function of fewer people collecting specimens over the holiday weekend, and so our numbers in testing have been down in the 3,000s over the last two days, but we expect those to pick up now that specimens are being collected again. We have a lot of testing to do because we know we still do have transmission in the state.”

Smith added that on Monday, more than 700 test samples were collected at the local health units across the state, which he said is approaching the highest number they have done in one day. He said they know the demand for tests is out there, and that the lower test numbers over the holiday weekend was probably due to a lack of samples taken.

The increase of 32 hospitalizations is the largest single-day jump thus far in the pandemic. Smith described hospitalizations as a lagging indicator of the virus, and today’s increase follows the high new case numbers from last week.

Of the nine deaths that occurred in the past 24 hours, five of the nine were under the age of 65.

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston shared updated statistics on the unemployment figures for the state. There have been more than 43,000 applicants who have been approved for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, and the state has dispersed more than $330 million to them. Preston said they are seeing a leveling off of claims for unemployment insurance. After hitting the peak at 122,522 on May 9, as of this morning the continued claims are down to 97,966, and each week they are seeing a decrease in those numbers. He said there is still a lot of work to do in getting Arkansas back to work as safely as possible.

Preston said that Arkansas is seeing an uptick in fraudulent activity as it relates to unemployment insurance, which is a nationwide scheme that continues to grow. Bad actors are using a name and personal information of an individual who is either currently employed, retired or who may have never have applied for unemployment. Victims discover this when the they receive a notification from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS). ADWS has determined so far that information is being used from a breach that could have happened as long as 20 years ago, either from a retail breach or any other way people have had their information stolen. Any of the following methods can be used to report unemployment fraud: visit dws.arkansas.gov to complete a secure form; email adws.internalaudit@arkansas.gov; call 501-682-1058 to speak with ADWS fraud unit; or file a police report.