On Friday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that hospitalizations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) have risen to an all-time high of 113 with 24 patients on ventilators.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas rose 239 on Friday for a total of 6,777 positive tests with 1,699 of those active.
Another statistic that rose on Friday was the number of deaths. Seven additional deaths made the total 132.
Arkansas passed the 70,000 mark for testing in the month of May on Friday. Health Secretary Nate Smith attributed the increase in cases partially to this increase in testing.
With a total of more than 120,000 tests performed, approximately 4% of the Arkansas population has been tested for COVID-19.
Smith hopes that upcoming testing events will produce an additional 500 tests per event on top of continued testing at facilities.
The state positivity rate was at 4.1% on Friday which was higher than Thursday, but still less than half the national standard.
Friday’s increase in cases led to an uptick in the seven-day average. Hutchinson broke down the seven-day averages for each region in the state.
Northwest Arkansas had the sharpest increase in cases followed by the southwest region. All other regions have reached a plateau.
The two counties with the highest increases were Washington with 53 and Benton with 38 new cases.
The governor urged residents to work together in order to stop the spread of COVID-19, stating, “Set the right example for others.”
Smith pointed out that there was a decrease in active cases due to the recoveries in the correctional facilities.
Director of Arkansas Heritage Stacy Hurst announced that campgrounds will be open for tent camping starting June 1.
“Arkansans deeply value their access to nature,” Hurst said about things the pandemic has taught the state.
At the end of Friday’s briefing, Hutchinson commented on the low levels of case numbers in Sebastian and Crawford Counties.
When asked if he believed those counties would be next in the Northwest Arkansas, the governor said, “Nothing should be a foregone conclusion.”
He commended Sebastian and Crawford Counties for being diligent job maintaining good social distancing guidelines.
In concluding his briefing, Hutchinson said that if those counties continue to see such low numbers, he would want to “bottle what they’re doing in Sebastian and Crawford Counties.”