Arkansas seems to be on track to reach the state’s COVID-19 testing goal for the month of May.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week said he’d like to see at least 60,000 tests this month, which at the time was double the amount that had been conducted since testing began on March 11.
With about 60% of the month remaining, the state health department has reported 23,949 test results this month which is 40% of the goal.
Hutchinson said today (May 13) that the overall testing total is now up to 73,215, and that 2,278 of those tests had taken place in the past 24 hours.
The overall plan, he said, is to build testing capacity in Arkansas to prepare for a potential resurgence of the virus in the summer or fall.
“Testing is our radar system,” he said. “It gives us an early warning capability of where there’s an increased potential of an outbreak so we can get a handle on it.”
Hutchinson said we have to learn to live with, manage and work through the potential of COVID-19 for at least the next year until a vaccine is available.
“To accomplish that, testing is a critical part of that infrastructure,” he said.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas reached 4,236 on Wednesday, which is an increase of 72 since Tuesday. Of those, 862 are considered active cases.
There are a total of 295 active cases from inside correctional facilities across the state, 90 in nursing homes, and 477 are in the general community, Smith said. Only one of the new cases reported today was from inside a correctional facility.
Hospitalizations are up five to 64, and 13 patients on a ventilator which is an increase of one since Tuesday. There were two additional deaths, bringing the toll to 97.
There are 51 nursing homes in Arkansas that have had one or more people become infected since the pandemic began. That includes 316 residents (up 17 from yesterday) and 176 staff (up two from yesterday).
Smith said a total of 3,277 people have recovered from the illness, which is an increase of 57 since Tuesday.