Less than two weeks after the original announcement, officials are revising the state’s COVID-19 testing goal for July. Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters on Monday, July 6 that the testing goal will be increased to 200,000 tests for the month.
Previously, Hutchinson announced on Wednesday, June 24, that the state was aiming to perform 180,000 tests in July. This number represented an increase of 60,000 tests from June’s goal of 120,000 tests and a 100,000 increase from the May goal of 80,000 tests.
“That depends, of course, on demand. We believe that will be there. But it also depends on our testing capacity. We’re hopeful that will be the case. We believe it will be,” Hutchinson said.
All of the testing goals so far have been met. Hutchinson said he increased the testing goal after “chiding” from Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith. Hutchinson nor Smith explicated why they elected to increase the testing goal.
However, Smith addressed the testing goal at the June 24 press conference, calling it a “floor” rather than the upper limit. “We’ve really scaled up our testing. I’m taking the governor’s 180,000 as a floor rather than as a ceiling. That’s critical for us to identify those chains of transmission so we can disrupt them,” Smith said.
Through Sunday, June 5, the state has performed 30,646 tests. This roughly equals 6,129 tests per day. According to the Arkansas Department of Health’s COVID-19 tracker, there have been 344,529 total tests reported in the state as of Tuesday, July 6.