State's confirmed cases near 75,000

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

By Scott Loftis

Nearly 75,000 Arkansas residents have now tested positive for COVID-19, state officials said Tuesday, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force says the state is in the “red zone” for new cases.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said 486 Arkansans tested positive for the virus in a 24-hour period before Tuesday’s news conference in Little Rock. That brings the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 74,772.

In addition to those cases confirmed through polymerise chain reaction (PCR) testing, the Arkansas Department of Health website says there are an additional 2,209 “probable cases” identified through less-reliable antigen testing. That number increased by 131 Tuesday.

Hutchinson announced that 12 more Arkansans had died from the virus, bringing the state’s total death toll to 1,060. The health department said there were 149 “probable deaths” from the virus as of Tuesday afternoon.

Hutchinson said 459 Arkansans were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday. The health department reported 6,188 active confirmed cases, with 395 active probable cases.

The health department listed 622 confirmed cases in Carroll County as of Tuesday afternoon, with six probable cases. There were 69 active confirmed cases and two active probable cases. Nine Carroll County residents have died from the virus, according to the health department. The number of confirmed cases was up by 69 since Tuesday, Sept. 15, while probable cases increased by four. The county’s number of confirmed active cases increased by just three, however, while the number of active probable cases was unchanged.

In a weekly report issued Sunday, the White House task force said Arkansas had 204 new cases per 100,000 people in the previous week.

“First, in terms of the number of cases, that’s the bad news that we had in the report,” Hutchinson said in response to a question at Tuesday’s news conference. “That’s obviously too high of a weekly growth in cases. That’s why we’re working every day to get that down. I was pleased with a decreased number the last few days. But that is a concern. We want fewer cases and we want to slow that growth and we hope that we can make progress there. The good news was the reduction in the positivity rate in Arkansas, which they acknowledge in the report. And as you continue to see improvements in positivity rate, there’s a higher level of confidence that you’re going to eventually see a decline in cases. And so we focus on both of those.”

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