State’s case count approaches 17,000
By Scott Loftis
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that the state had confirmed nearly 600 positive tests for COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, bringing the state’s total case count to nearly 17,000.
The 595 new cases announced Tuesday followed 522 new cases on Monday and brought the state’s total case count to 16,678. Hutchinson said at a news conference Tuesday in Mountain Home that 10 Arkansans had died from the virus in the previous 24 hours, increasing the state’s total number of COVID-19 deaths to 237. More than 11,000 Arkansans have recovered from the virus, according to state health secretary Dr. Nate Smith.
The 522 new cases announced Monday included 124 from Washington County and 78 from Benton County, Smith said.
The number of Arkansas residents who are hospitalized with the virus increased by 11 Tuesday, to 248. That is the state’s highest COVID-19 hospitalization count since the pandemic began.
Hutchinson said Monday that more than 120,000 Arkansans have been tested for the virus in June.
“I think the main message for Arkansans is that we here in this room take COVID-19 very seriously, and the spread of this virus, the number of cases that we have,” he said during Monday’s news conference in Little Rock. “That’s why we’ve expanded testing and continue to do that in Arkansas. That’s why we’re building the infrastructure for contact tracing. That’s why we had the guidance that was offered for wearing of masks in the state of Arkansas. Those are the indications that we are working very hard to address this challenge that we face as a state, and I’m very pleased with the reports that I get from across the state that people continue to take this seriously. Obviously, in those areas that you have an increase in cases, they take it the most seriously."
At Monday’s news conference, Hutchinson presented a series of charts outlining the state’s capacity for hospital beds, intensive care beds and ventilators. While 71 percent of the state’s hospital beds and 77 percent of its intensive care beds are occupied, 65.2 percent of the state’s ventilators are available, he said. There were 57 COVID-19 patients on ventilators Tuesday, according to Smith.
“The hardest thing to address if you don’t have it is ventilators,” Smith said. “And so it’s encouraging that we do have almost two-thirds of our ventilator capacity available and then we have additional ventilators that have been on order.”