1,094 new cases Friday State sees highest single-day increase in COVID-19
By Samantha Jones
Leading up to Labor Day weekend, Arkansas saw its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases on Friday, Sept. 4.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced at a news conference on Friday in Searcy that the week ended with a “fairly dramatic exclamation point” with 1,094 new cases of virus in the state. Hutchinson said that’s the highest single-day increase the state has seen so far, saying that brought the the state to a total of 64,175 cases.
“We not only have the highest numbers of new cases, but we have the highest number of testing results we’ve had over 24 hours,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said the state tested 11,254 people over that 24-hour period. Washington County had the highest number of new cases at 215, and Hutchinson said 82 percent of those cases were in the 18-24 age demographic. That points to students at the University of Arkansas, Hutchinson said. He said he spoke with Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan, who said the city is devoting additional law enforcement resources to patrol public places like Dixon Street “just to remind the students and others that might be there to socially distance, wear the mask, behave yourself and avoid the spread.”
“These are really strong leadership efforts on their parts, and I applaud them for it,” Hutchinson said. “With that, I think we’ll be setting the stage for a really good weekend.”
A total of 401 Arkansans were hospitalized because of the virus on Friday — 24 fewer than the day before — while 86 were on ventilators. Hutchinson announced 12 new deaths on Friday, bringing the death toll to 873. According to a graphic posted on Hutchinson’s Facebook page on Sunday, Sept. 6, there were 21 more deaths over the weekend resulting in a death toll of 894.
There were 1,202 new cases over the weekend for a total of 65,377 cases. Ten of those cases are correctional, and 677 are community-based. As of Sunday, the number of active cases was 6,188. A total of 389 Arkansans were hospitalized because of the virus on Sunday, while 78 were on ventilators.
State health secretary Dr. Jose Romero addressed college students on Friday, encouraging the students to take precaution.
“We need your help. You are part of our communities and as part of our communities, we would ask that you please adhere to those guidelines,” Romero said. “We have worked so hard to drive the incident rates down in these counties and we’d hate to see them go up again.”
In response to a question from a reporter about how the state plans to handle a potential spike in cases at universities, Hutchinson said he doesn’t plan to institute any additional statewide restrictions “because our targeted approach has been very effective.”
“The last thing you want to do is send all those students home, because that would really add to the spread of the virus versus being in an environment where it is something you can put restrictions on,” Hutchinson said. “I was very impressed with my call with the chancellor today and the mayor … they understand the challenges they face. Utilizing the code of conduct for the students really lets them get a handle on this quickly.”