The state of Arkansas saw a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases today after the largest single-day case increase yesterday.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported 154 new COVID-19 cases today, 135 of those are considered community cases, at his daily COVID-19 press conference. Arkansas now has a total 5,612 COVID-19 cases; however, 4,029 have recovered.
There are currently 1,470 cases considered active with 874 in the community, 510 in correctional facilities and 86 in nursing homes.
Hospitalizations have declined from 86 to 81 with 14 on a ventilator, but the death toll is now at 113, up from three yesterday.
Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith provided an update on COVID-19 testing across the state. Yesterday, 2,909 tests were conducted and had a positivity rate of 4.4 percent. Since the beginning of May, the state has conducted 51,275 COVID-19 tests.
The state is also enhancing its COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. Nearly half of the new cases yesterday were from correctional facilities, but 224 were community cases. Since yesterday, 61 percent of the community cases have already been contacted and 24 percent are known to be contacts of previous COVID-19 cases.
“They have already traced 61 percent of [the 455 new cases] from yesterday. This is great news as to the enhanced capability of the contact and tracing and knowing where these numbers are coming from,” Hutchinson said. “Based upon statistics, Washington County had the highest number with 32 new cases. And most of those 32 new cases came from three households, which shows you the quickness of spread in a household or in a community.”
There were 22 new cases yesterday in Benton County, 19 in Pulaski County, 11 in Severe County and 10 in Crittenden County.
Smith also noted that the directive for elective surgeries will be amended and go into effect next Monday, May 25.
“We have basically removed all of the restrictions from ASA rating—that means even the sicker patients can have their elective surgeries. We’ve removed the restriction on length of hospital stay. We still do require testing within now 72 hours, preferably within 48 hours, but 72 hours and antigen testing, but not antibody testing,” he said.