State’s cases close to 34,000
By Scott Loftis
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Arkansas residents continued to rise sharply Monday, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that 699 new cases were confirmed in the previous 24 hours.
Hospitalizations because of COVID-19 increased by 18 from the previous day to 471, the state’s highest hospitalization count since the pandemic began in March. Hutchinson said six Arkansans died from the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the state’s total COVID-19 deaths to 363.
Monday marked the 13th consecutive day of more than 500 new cases in Arkansas. The state has had a total of 13,150 new confirmed cases in July — an average of 657.5 per day. Over a seven-day period starting Tuesday, July 14, the state’s total number of confirmed cases increased by 17.2 percent, from 28,939 to 33,927. Forty Arkansans died from the virus over that seven-day span, and hospitalizations increased by 7.3 percent.
Washington County had 94 newly confirmed cases Monday, Hutchinson said, while Benton County ranked third with 57 new cases.
Hutchinson announced that he was activating 10 Arkansas National Guard members to “support case management” at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville for the next 30 days.
“This is a short-term relief effort for the hospital,” Hutchinson said.
As of Monday morning, the Arkansas Department of Health reported that Carroll County had a total of 286 confirmed cases, with 63 active positive cases, 217 recovered cases and six deaths. The total number of confirmed cases in the county increased by 16 from the previous day, while active cases were up by 12.
Carroll County Judge Sam Barr tested positive for the virus last week, his administrative assistant Ronda Griffin announced on Barr’s Facebook page Friday, July 17. The Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville, where Barr’s office is located, was closed at noon that day for deep cleaning.
Griffin said via Facebook on Monday that Barr was “doing great.”
“He will need to be re-tested, and if it comes back negative, he will be good to go!!” Griffin posted on Barr’s Facebook page.
The Carroll County Quorum Court meeting that was scheduled for Monday night will be rescheduled, County Clerk Connie Doss, likely for Monday, July 27.
The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement last week released data on COVID-19 infections for cities across the state. According to the ACHI report, which was based on data as of July 9, Berryville had 91 cases of COVID-19, equal to 1.64 percent of the city’s population. ACHI reported that Eureka Springs had 12 cases (0.57 percent) while Green Forest had 97 cases (3.53 percent).
In response to a question Monday about the possibility of delaying the start of the 2020-21 school year, Hutchinson said he doesn’t anticipate making that decision.
“Let me emphasize, I do not expect changing the date from where it is now,” said Hutchinson, who earlier this month announced that school would start the week of Aug. 24 rather than Aug. 13. “Nobody can predict the future, but there’s not any discussions about changing the date. … We’ve moved it forward for two weeks. Everybody’s counting on that. That’s where it is. That’s where I expect it to stay.”