Arkansas officials announced that the total of positive coronavirus cases has increased to more than 700 as of Friday afternoon. Both Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nathaniel Smith confirmed that the official COVID-19 count has increased to 704.
This marks an increase of 61 cases from yesterday’s total, when officials said the count was 643.
In less than a week, the total of positive cases has increased by more than 200. Arkansas exceeded 500 COVID-19 cases by Tuesday, March 31, when officials announced that there were 523. Between Monday and Friday, the total has increased by roughly 231. This number is based on Monday’s total of 473 cases, which when subtracted by Friday’s total of 704, equals 231.
Of the total number of cases, the majority of infected individuals fall within the 19-64 age category. According to Smith, there are 487 individuals with COVID-19 infections in this age range. There are 197 older Arkansans in the 65 and older age range with COVID-19 infections and 20 children aged 18 or younger who are infected.
There are currently 71 individuals hospitalized due to coronavirus, a number that has increased by five from yesterday. Twenty-six individuals are also on ventilators. The death total remained steady at 12, while 60 individuals total have recovered.
Smith emphasized the prevalence of pre-existing health conditions that can make individuals more vulnerable to COVID-19. This prevalence, he said, has been borne out in previous research as well as observations of Arkansas’ coronavirus patients.
A Chinese study of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China, which is set to appear in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, analyzed the number of COVID-19-infected patients with comorbid conditions. The study showed that there is a significant connection between COVID-19 infection and having hypertension and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases.
In the study, the authors stated, “We assessed the prevalence of comorbidities in the COVID-19 infection patients and found underlying disease, including hypertension, respiratory system disease and cardiovascular, may be a risk factor for severe patients compared with Non-severe patients.”
According to Smith, 8.5 percent of COVID-19 patients in Arkansas have diabetes, but 30 percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have diabetes. In addition, heart disease has a strong presence in Arkansas coronavirus patients. Of the total number of cases, 7.7 percent of patients have heart disease. The heart disease prevalence for those hospitalized rises to 23 percent and increases to 27 percent for COVID-19 patients in ICU.
Smith said that 4.4 percent of COVID-19 patients in Arkansas have chronic lung disease. This number increases to 14 percent of hospitalized patients with chronic lung disease as well as 16 percent of patients in ICU. Chronic kidney numbers are slightly lower at 2.1 percent for all coronavirus cases in Arkansas, but 8 percent of hospitalized patients have chronic kidney disease and 11 percent of ICU patients with COVID-19 have chronic kidney disease.
One new county has reported a coronavirus infection. Monroe County is the latest county to announce its first instance of COVID-19 infection.
The other counties with reported COVID-19 infections include Arkansas, Ashley, Baxter, Benton, Boone, Bradley, Carroll, Chicot, Clark, Cleburne, Cleveland, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Cross, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Greene, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Miller, Mississippi, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Pike, Poinsett, Polk, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sevier, Sharp, St. Francis, Stone, Union, Van Buren, Washington, White, and Woodruff.