State’s case count tops 16,000

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

By Scott Loftis

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday that the state had confirmed more than 500 positive tests for COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, bringing the state’s total case count to more than 16,000.

The 522 new cases announced Monday include 124 from Washington County and 78 from Benton County, state health secretary Dr. Nate Smith said during a news conference in Little Rock. Altogether, 16,083 Arkansas residents have tested positive for the virus and 227 have died.

The number of Arkansas residents who are hospitalized with the virus dropped by seven Monday, to 237. Sunday’s count of 244 Arkansans hospitalized with COVID-19 was the state’s highest since the pandemic began.

The state has 5,063 active cases, Smith said.

Hutchinson said more than 120,000 Arkansans have been tested for the virus in June.

“I think the main message for Arkansans is that we here in this room take COVID-19 very seriously, and the spread of this virus, the number of cases that we have,” he said. “That’s why we’ve expanded testing and continue to do that in Arkansas. That’s why we’re building the infrastructure for contact tracing. That’s why we had the guidance that was offered for wearing of masks in the state of Arkansas. Those are the indications that we are working very hard to address this challenge that we face as a state, and I’m very pleased with the reports that I get from across the state that people continue to take this seriously. Obviously, in those areas that you have an increase in cases, they take it the most seriously.”

Hutchinson presented a series of charts outlining the state’s capacity for hospital beds, intensive care beds and ventilators. While 71 percent of the state’s hospital beds and 77 percent of its intensive care beds are occupied, 65.2 percent of the state’s ventilators are available, he said. There are currently 61 COVID-19 patients on ventilators, according to Smith.

“The hardest thing to address if you don’t have it is ventilators,” Smith said. “And so it’s encouraging that we do have almost two-thirds of our ventilator capacity available and then we have additional ventilators that have been on order.”

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