Hutchinson touts lower statewide numbers, but 20 new cases reported in Carroll County
By Scott Loftis
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that 383 Arkansas residents had tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours — the state’s lowest daily count of new cases in more than a month — but 20 of those were in Carroll County.
The state has had a cumulative total of 50,411 confirmed cases, with more than half of those being reported in the past five weeks. Hutchinson announced Tuesday that 11 more Arkansans had died in the previous 24 hours, raising that total to 566. Five hundred and seven people were hospitalized in the state as of Tuesday afternoon, with 116 on ventilators.
State health secretary Dr. Jose Romero said there were 6,847 active cases Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday afternoon, Hutchinson displayed a chart showing the daily average of new cases in the state by week. Although the week of Aug. 2-Aug. 8 had the highest daily average of new cases (805) since the pandemic began in March, the first two days of the current week beginning Sunday, Aug. 9, had the lowest daily average (608.5) since the week of June 28-July 4. The 383 new cases announced Tuesday lowered the daily average for the week to 533.3.
“You can see the last week, which was when our mask mandate really was expected to start having some impact, and I believe that you can see the impact of the mask mandate with a reduction of the cases from where it was two weeks ago,” Hutchinson said Monday. “Hopefully we’ll continue to see that success.”
Romero echoed Hutchinson’s optimism.
“It’s good to see that the trend may be going downward with the number of positive tests,” Romero said Monday. “It’s still early. We would like to see that continue downward, but if we do see that further trend in the 500 to 600 positives a day during this week, I think that is good evidence that the mask mandate is going into effect and that we’re starting to depress the curve. It’s important to keep in mind that we shouldn’t slack as we start to see these better numbers. We need to keep this up.”
In response to a reporter’s question regarding what actions are still available if daily cases don’t continue to decline, Hutchinson said the state has “accomplished the objective of making sure that we manage the COVID cases in a way that our hospitals can handle the requirements to make sure that we have the PPE, the infrastructure in place.”
“In that sense, it’s been a good management of extending the cases out.”
Tuesday afternoon, the Arkansas Department of Health reported a total of 379 positive tests in Carroll County, with 41 active cases, 331 recovered and seven deaths.
The Carroll County Health Unit offered drive-through testing for a four-hour period Friday, Aug. 7, at the Berryville Community Center. Lisa Holt, administrator for the health unit, said a total of 113 people were tested.