For the first time in over a month, the number of active coronavirus (COIVD-19) cases in Arkansas decreased with more recoveries taking place than new cases on Wednesday. There were 420 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, but with more than 600 recoveries in the same amount of time, the state could finally be going in the right direction.
The governor shared that most cases in Arkansas are on a downward or level trend.
There was also a decrease in hospitalizations so that the total on Wednesday was 275. Of those hospitalizations, 72 were on a ventilator.
With active cases, hospitalizations and seven-day rolling average all on a downward trajectory, Gov. Asa Hutchinson took the opportunity to point out that "we fight complacency every day." The governor further noted that now is not the time to become complacent because things are going well.
Hutchinson brought a football to Wednesday’s briefing to point out that Arkansas will not be able to return to contact sports if people become complacent and do not wear masks. The governor held the football and the mask up to demonstrate the correlation between the two.
The final number of tests administered in June was 180,595 which was beyond even the July testing goal. This number represents 6% of the population of Arkansas. Health Secretary Nate Smith expressed hope that Hutchinson would set an even higher goal for testing in July.
This testing delivered a 6.7% positivity rate which was a decrease from Tuesday of 0.1%.
Smith presented several slides with statistics on hospitalizations and patients who were put on a ventilator.
According to Smith, of the 1,300 hospitalizations, approximately 66% have been discharged, 20% are still hospitalized and the other 14% died before recovering. Within that number, of the 203 who have been on ventilators, approximately 28% were able to be taken off, 23% are still on the ventilator and the other 46% died while on the ventilator.
Smith also took the opportunity to highlight that there are other issues that come with COVID-19 other than the virus itself. He told the story of one physician who recovered from the virus, but now has heart problems as a result and he is uncertain if that will ever go away. Other complications include blood clots or neurological issues such as stroke.
Maj. General Kendall Penn of the Arkansas National Guard announced that the training exercises scheduled for later this month will not take place at Fort Chaffee as originally planned. The governor was informed of a federal rule that would not fund testing for each guardsman before training and so the entire exercise was canceled for the safety of the guardsmen.
According to Penn, the funding only allowed for testing of symptomatic guardsmen and he did not want to risk the health of anyone during the exercise and determined the best course of action would be to reschedule for a later date.