The number of known positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas passed the 20,000 mark on Monday as hospitalizations reached a new high and another Arkansan died of the virus, said Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
With 439 new cases, the statewide case count reached 20,257. Hospitalizations were up 17 to 300, and there was one new death bringing the overall toll to 265.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said 21 of the new cases are from a correctional facility.
The total number of active cases on Monday reached 5,926, Smith said. Of those hospitalized, 63 are on ventilators and 14,066 have so far recovered from the illness.
Smith said it’s encouraging to see active cases “plateauing out” with almost as many recoveries (430) as new cases (439) today.
The governor said he’s also encouraged to see several days of notable declines in new case counts. The state reported 570 new cases Saturday, 508 Sunday and 439 Monday. That downturn follows a few days of cases just under the 700 mark in the middle of last week.
“I would caution you, though,” he said. “We don’t know what this last weekend will bring. Not everyone behaved well.”
Hutchinson later said he was referring to some posts he’d seen on social media that showed people who were not social distancing or wearing masks at parties and bars.
The governor said the daily rate of increase in new cases looks to be slowing in Northwest Arkansas, but he’s concerned about an uptick in other areas like Pulaski County, which has reported 263 new cases since Friday and Sebastian County, which reported 133 cases over the same time period.
Numbers in Washington and Benton counties are still high, but a graph presented by the governor on Monday shows a sizable drop in the northwest region’s seven-day rolling average of new cases (see below).
Hutchinson also showed bar graphs that illustrate testing per capita in Arkansas compared to 12 nearby states over the last three months. The graphs showed Arkansas in third behind Tennessee and Louisiana for the month of June, a drastic increase since April and May when the state ranked eighth and eleventh.
Overall testing in June is just over 167,000, Hutchinson said. The governor last week announced that the goal for July is to conduct 180,000 tests.
More graphs from Wednesday