As of Monday, June 8, the state of Arkansas has the highest number of active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are currently 2,995 active cases with 2,710 in the community, 139 in nursing homes and 106 in correctional facilities. The number of hospitalizations is at 171.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported during his daily press conference that the state has a cumulative total of 9,740 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Within the past 24 hours, there have been 314 additional cases and 26 hospitalizations. The death toll has increased to 155.
The number of new cases have primarily come from Washington and Benton counties with 86 and 41 cases, respectively.
“All the rest of the counties in Arkansas had fewer than 20 new cases, and so you can see the fairly significant difference between the growth rate in Benton and Washington counties versus the rest of the state,” he said. Hutchinson added that “the regions of the state are all at different stages of the epidemic and their trendlines are different.”
In terms of testing, there have been 4,131 COVID-19 tests conducted across the state.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said that “we have had consistently over 4,000 tests per day, every day of this month except for the first day. Our total is 28,862, so we’re ahead of our target for one percent of our population each week, or 120,000 tests for the month.”
He also provided further clarification on the regional differences in cases across the state.
According to Smith, the northwest region has seen a significant increase in new cases since mid-May. The southwest region has also seen a slight increase in new cases, but it is at a much slower rate.
“The numbers in the northwest have almost been four times as many in the southwest. The growth in cases in the southwest has mostly been due to DeQueen in Sevier County,” said Smith.
Central Arkansas had an early peak of cases in mid-April and another one at the beginning of June, but Smith said it is leveling off.
The southeast region had two large increases of new cases due to the outbreaks in correctional facilities in April and May. The number of new cases in the region has leveled off and been the lowest compared to other regions since May 22.
The number of new cases in the northeast region have been increasing slightly, but not as much as central or the southwest regions.
“In four of our five public health regions, we’ve seen increases. But the one that is much, much greater in magnitude is the one in the northwest,” Smith said. “Again, we have not seen increases related to the businesses that we have opened up over the last month.” He added that the clusters of new cases have been from correctional facilities, nursing homes, some of the essential industries like meat packaging and simply transmission from the community.