Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported 648 new COVID-19 cases with 39 in correctional facilities and 609 in the community, bringing the state’s cumulative number of cases to 31,762.
Pulaski County had the highest number of new cases with 68, Washington County had 44, Craighead County had 32, Pope County had 30, Benton County had 29, Garland County had 24, Sebastian County had 22 and Saline County had 20. All other counties had fewer than 20 new cases.
The governor also announced that the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement has released city-level data for COVID-19 cases available to the public.
“I recognize now the extraordinary need for this and it’s fascinating looking at some of the top counties in terms of percent of the population in a city that has [a cumulative number of positive cases],” he said, later adding that “we have to make sure that we’re mindful not just in the urban areas but the rural areas as well as to the potential of this spread.”
The number of hospitalizations has declined by six to 464 after eight days of increase and the number of patients on a ventilator has also declined since yesterday by four to 94.
There were 12 additional deaths reported today, but seven of those are from within the past three days. The remaining five deaths were delayed in being reported and ranged from June 24 to July 12.
Yesterday, 5,861 COVID-19 tests were completed across the state. Since the beginning of July, there have been 94,148 tests completed.
“I’ve asked Dr. Romero to discuss this next week as to how we can increase our testing with some of the challenges we’ve had with our commercial lab,” said Hutchinson.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith reported that there are 6,633 active cases with 5,489 in the community, 1,013 in correctional facilities and 131 in nursing homes. The number of recoveries has increased by 581 to 24,776.
Smith noted delays in receiving COVID-19 test results and contact tracers reaching out to positive cases.
“We don’t have the level of testing that we would like and we don’t yet have the level of contact tracing that we would like,” he said. “But with the plans that we have in place we will be tripling our contact tracing capacity over the course of the next month and, as I’ve said before, hoping to double our lab testing capacity in the public health lab.”