Gov. Asa Hutchinson provided a COVID-19 update in Blytheville today (Aug. 18).
There are 410 new COVID-19 cases with 325 in the community and 85 in correctional facilities, bringing the cumulative number of cases in the state to 53,487. The number of hospitalizations has increased by 16 to 492, with 122 patients on a ventilator. The number of deaths has increased by 16 to 619.
Three counties had more than 20 new cases: Sebastian County had 44, Pulaski County had 40 and Washington County had 29.
In terms of COVID-19 testing, 4,675 were completed across the state yesterday.
“I think that we’re doing sufficient testing to give us a good idea as to the level of the spread of the virus,” Hutchinson said. “I think that it’s clear that we are either flat or going down, and that could depend on the level of testing that you’re doing…I’m comfortable that we’re getting a sense as to where we are with the virus and the extent of its spread.”
State epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha joined Hutchinson at the update. According to Dillaha, there are 5,898 active cases and 46,970 recoveries. She also explained the importance of isolating and getting tested if individuals have been exposed to the virus.
While most cases involve individuals exhibiting symptoms within five to six days after becoming infected, Dillaha pointed out that those individuals can spread the virus one to two days before developing symptoms.
“Identifying people when they first get symptoms is really a key strategy to stopping the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “It is very important that people who have been infected and develop symptoms get isolated as quickly as possible.”