Coronavirus in Arkansas: 729 new cases, 12 additional deaths

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced 729 new cases and 12 additional deaths due to COVID-19 in Arkansas at his daily press conference from Little Rock on Wednesday, August 19.

The statewide death toll due to the coronavirus is now 631. According to Dr. Jose Romero, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health., three of the deaths reported on Wednesday were from nursing homes.

The top counties reporting new cases today include:

  • Pulaski – 65
  • Jefferson – 56
  • Sebastian – 52
  • Craighead – 33
  • Washington – 32
  • Pope – 30
  • Benton – 29
  • Mississippi – 25
  • Garland – 25
  • Johnson – 22

There are now 5919 cases considered active by the Arkansas Department of Health, including:

  • 4920 in the general community
  • 961 in correctional facilities
  • 38 in nursing homes

The number of patients hospitalized with the virus in Arkansas rose to 499 (+7) on Wednesday, including 114 patients on ventilators (+8).

The state reported 6025 test results over the last 24 hours, Hutchinson said.

Romero announced 696 additional cases considered recovered by the ADH.

We’re seeing testing numbers drop in Arkansas, so we asked Gov. Hutchinson if thinks this is because of limits in capacity or limit in demand.

His answer was it’s a combination of the two.

He doesn’t want people to be discouraged to get tested because of how long it takes to get results back and they are working on shortening that time.

He also says since the state stopped testing patients before elective surgeries that might’ve also lowered the numbers.

“I want to see our commercial labs do a better job increasing the supply chain so those tests are available and shorten that time frame,” he said.

Hutchinson asked everyone to be diligent and if you are symptomatic or have traveled, you should get tested.

More than 100,000 Arkansans have been tested for COVID-19 this month.

While we’re looking to be short of his August goal, Hutchinson said we have already surpassed the CDC’s recommendation for a state to test at least 2% of its population per month.

“Being in this range exceeds the CDC guidelines and exceeds our testing plan and so we’re testing robustly in Arkansas and we want to test more,” he said.

His goal is to test 200,000 Arkansans by August 31 – 190,000 using PCR tests and another 10,000 with antigen tests.

While he does not anticipate we will hit this month’s goal, he is sure we will at least 4% of our population, which is 120,000 people.

For more information on the state’s response to the novel coronavirus, visit https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus.

Watch the full press conference from Wednesday, August 19 below:

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