Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported that the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Arkansas has increased to 4,813. Since his last update on Saturday, there have been 235 additional cases. There were 181 new cases on Sunday with 131 being in correctional facilities. As of Monday, May 18, there are 54 new cases.
Currently, there are 1,068 active cases – of that total, 591 are in the community, 378 are in correctional facilities and 98 are in nursing homes.
The state analyzed the growth rate of new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas last week between May 10 and May 16. The southeast region of Arkansas had the highest growth rate at slightly more than 25 percent. Central Arkansas had the lowest growth rate at less than 10 percent. The high growth rate in southeast Arkansas prompted state officials to conduct testing over the weekend in Forrest City to find community cases.
Hospitalizations have increased by 12 to 77 with 12 individuals on a ventilator and the death toll has reached 100 with two new deaths related to the virus.
“What we do know is that hospitalizations tend to lag about a week behind cases and about the middle part of last week we had quite a few cases that were reported, so this is not surprising,” Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said. “Fortunately, our number of cases have cut down since then and hopefully we will see those hospitalizations come down as well. We’ll be watching that very carefully.”
Hutchinson also announced that he was invited by the White House to meet with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence this Wednesday.
“It’s an opportunity to illustrate what people here in Arkansas are doing to open up the economy, to get back to business, to get back to work, but also how they have successfully lived through this and did all that they could to be safe during this time,” he said. “Specifically, we also want to talk about the food processing industry in Arkansas that is so critical to our nation. We have over 60 processing plants in Arkansas and we want to talk about the extraordinary job they are doing in keeping our nation’s food supply and operation [going].”