Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported 97 new COVID-19 cases at his daily press conference on Friday, May 15, bringing the total number of cases to 4,463. Of that number, 975 are considered active cases with 551 in the community, 322 in the correctional facilities and 102 in nursing homes. There have been 3,390 recoveries so far.
Of the 97 new COVID-19 cases, 79 are in the community and 18 are in the correctional facilities. He noted the following counties as those with the most community cases yesterday: Jefferson County had 11, Crittenden County had 10, Pope County had nine related to a single facility, Pulaski County had seven and St. Francis County had six.
There are 65 currently hospitalized with nine individuals on a ventilator. The number of deaths remains the same at 98.
The state is still working towards its goal of conducting 60,000 COVID-19 tests during the month of May. There have been 29,389 tests conducted so far. Yesterday, 2,669 tests were conducted and had a 2.5 percent positivity rate.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith announced that the directive for elective surgeries will be amended so that patients will be able to get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their appointment instead of 48 hours beginning on Monday, May 18. Furthermore, nearly 70 local health units associated with the Arkansas Department of Health will open on Monday to offer COVID-19 tests.
“We especially want people to come in if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or if they believe they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19,” Smith said. “But if they have been in an area where there is active transmission of COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms, we would like them to come in and get tested.”
Hutchinson is expected to be in Forrest City on Monday, May 18, and will stream his daily press conference from there.