To better understand the rise in new cases across Arkansas, state officials showed graphs of the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases by five regions of the state at a press conference.
“We have really in Arkansas, five different epidemics, that are in five different stages,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “So you have three of the regions in which we like the direction, they have moved downward and the trend is well. Then, we have two regions, which is the northwest region and the southwest region, that we are currently fighting a challenge.”
The graph for the southeast region has “two really big peaks with a valley” largely associated with the outbreaks in the correctional facilities such as Cummins Unit and Randal Williams Facility. Since then, it has gone down to fairly low levels.
“Their number of new cases per day is actually the lowest,” Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said.
The graph for the northwest region has a steady low number of new cases until the exponential growth in mid-May. The majority of the new cases lately have been coming from the northwest region.
The numbers for southwest have been fairly lower than northwest, but Sevier County has seen the most increase in new cases, which has caused them to peak.
The graph for central Arkansas shows the peak in new cases earlier in mid-April, but they have since fallen and remain consistently leveled between 10 to 20 new cases per day.
“Now, we are actually seeing fewer new cases in the central region than either the northwest, northeast or southwest, even though the central region is one of the most populous regions in our state,” Smith said.
The graph for the northeast region shows a slow incline of new cases and ranks third for the most new cases today.
In addition to offering testing at 79 local health units across the state, the Arkansas Department of Health will be hosting testing events in Fayetteville, West Memphis, DeQueen and Pine Bluff tomorrow, Saturday, May 29.
Smith pointed out that the testing event in Pine Bluff will be at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
More testing events are planned for Saturday, June 6, in Jonesboro, Wrightsville and El Dorado.
The goal is to test at least 500 at each of these events.
“We will continue to keep testing and it’s that information from the testing that will help us identify these chains of transmission so that we can interrupt them and bring this COVID-19 epidemic, or epidemics in Arkansas, under control,” Smith said.