After a low day on Wednesday, the number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on Thursday nearly doubled to 1,013. Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressed frustration at this number, but stated that it was expected.
Sebastian County was back on the top counties list at fourth with 65 new virus cases on Thursday.
The number of hospitalizations rose to 480 while the number of patients on a ventilator remained at 107.
After a testing low on Wednesday, there were 5,487 tests administered in the 24 hours leading up to Thursday’s press briefing. The total number of tests administered in July as of Thursday was 133,054.
Hutchinson stated that the increase in testing on Thursday was not enough to reach the month’s goal of 200,000 tests unless testing increases even more.
Both the seven-day average and the number of active cases rose on Thursday due to the high number of new cases and the low number of recoveries. As of Thursday, there were 7,009 active cases in Arkansas.
There were 841 active cases in eight of Arkansas’ correctional facilities of which the majority are in Ouachita River Unit. Hutchinson took the opportunity to express that the state cares for the health of inmates.
According to Acting Health Secretary Jose Romero, inmates are screened multiple times a day at meals and are each given at least two masks. Hutchinson claimed there was enough room to spread the inmates out if necessary.
Hutchinson expressed concern for the Ouachita River Unit due to the number of special needs and elderly inmates in that unit, but expected the unit to follow the example of the Cummins Unit which now has less than 100 active cases.
According to Corrections Secretary Dexter Payne, there have been a total of 103 inmates hospitalized since April and 21 deaths.
When asked about a Tyson worker who was asked to return to work before recovering, Hutchinson stated that the health department is looking into it.
Romero shared that there is still a constant concern about public health, but the health department is working on an electronic response system that will allow them to receive COVID-19 test results more quickly.