While the state of Arkansas still plans to enter Phase II of reopening on Monday, June 15, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases at his daily press conference on Friday, June 12.
There are 731 new COVID-19 cases with 207 in correctional facilities and 524 in the community. The cumulative total number of cases is 11,547, but the number of active cases is 3,764 with 3,218 in the community, 402 in correctional facilities and 144 in nursing homes. So far, 7,607 have recovered which makes up 66 percent of the cumulative total number of cases.
Most of the new cases in correctional facilities are in the East Arkansas Regional Unit located in Lee County. The majority of cases in the community are in Northwest Arkansas. A Tyson Foods facility in Springdale reported 199 workers who tested positive for COVID-19, with only one showing symptoms at the time of testing. The facility outbreak makes up one-third of the new community cases in the state.
Washington County has 220 new cases and Benton County has 91. Madison and Lee counties both have 32 new cases. Pulaski County has 25 and Sebastian County has 24. The remaining counties have less than 20 new cases.
There have been 16 additional hospitalizations since yesterday, so the number is now at 203. The number of related deaths has also increased to 176, up five from yesterday.
In terms of testing, there were 5,591 COVID-19 tests conducted yesterday (June 11) and had a 7.1 percent positivity rate. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, there have been 182,645 COVID-19 tests conducted in the state with a 6.2 percent positivity rate.
“I do want to just look at the future for the moment and as I look at the next week, I do expect the cases to continue to increase,” Hutchinson said. “I think that is natural whenever we see the pattern that we’ve seen over the last week, particularly in Northwest Arkansas, I expect that to continue to increase until we can get a handle on that and reduce the spread.”
When asked about his targeted approach on managing the spread of COVID-19, Hutchinson said it is the “right strategy” but “in terms of social distancing, being careful and doing the public health requirements, we can do better.”
“The unpredictability of this virus and how you plan and how you plan for what it’s going to be like in July and August is difficult…We work through it. We are using the best data and science. We do have a good strategy, we just have to really execute on that.”