Coronavirus in Ark.: Gov. Hutchinson, Sec of Dept. of Health give update in Jonesboro on state’s response


JONESBORO, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson and Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Department of Health gave an update on the state’s COVID-19 response in Jonesboro.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 6,277 total cases and 120 deaths in the state, according to Governor Asa Hutchinson.

That is an increase of 97 cases from Tuesday, state officials say. According to Dr. Smith, two of the new cases are in a correctional setting and the other 95 were from communities.

Of the total number of cases, Dr. Smith said 1,733 are active cases. Of the number of active cases, 68 are in nursing homes, 466 are in correctional facilities and 1,199 are in communities.

According to Dr. Smith, 20% of the active cases are in the Latino community.

Smith said since the beginning of the pandemic, 575 health care workers have tested positive, which is 9.2% of all positive cases.

Dr. Smith said he has not seen a correlation between the increase of cases and reopening businesses. According to Smith, only 0.8% of the new cases have gone to a restaurant, 1% have gone to the barbershop, 0.5% visited a daycare and 0.2% went to a gym.

According to Governor Hutchinson, one additional person has been hospitalized since Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 108. The governor said that’s almost at the previous peak of hospitalizations.

Dr. Smith said the previous peak was 109 hospitalizations.

Dr. Smith said as of Wednesday, 22 people are on a ventilator in Arkansas, which is four more than the day before.

The governor said the number of hospitalizations are likely to go up, and might fluctuate.

One person has died due to complications of the coronavirus since Tuesday’s news conference, bringing the state’s death toll to 120.

The governor announced Wednesday that 66,299 tests have been done in May so far, surpassing the goal of 60,000 tests this month.

According to state officials, 4,033 tests were completed on Tuesday with a 1.9% positivity rate.

State officials say in total, 117,076 tests have been done in Arkansas since the start of the pandemic.

The governor said he probably has until August to decide what to do until the November election because that’s when ballots are starting to be put together.

People in Craighead County can call 888-683-ADEM starting Thursday through June 10th for the SBA Disaster Assistance Program.

To watch the full news conference, click here.

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