The number of known positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas reached 53,487 on Tuesday, which is an increase of 410 since Monday.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the numbers during his coronavirus press briefing at Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville.
4,675 tests were announced on Tuesday, bringing the total for the month of August to 101,999 with positivity rates still hovering around 10%. Hospitalizations were up 6 to 492, and there were 16 additional deaths, brining the toll to 619 since the pandemic began. 122 Arkansans are currently on ventilators, up two from yesterday.
Of the new cases announced on Tuesday, 85 came from correctional facilities, and 325 are considered to be active in the community.
The new cases today bring the total of active cases in the state to 5,898, with 46,970 cases considered recovered.
The top counties for new cases on Tuesday were Sebastian with 44, Pulaski with 40, Washington with 29, Benton with 16, and Union with 14.
Epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha spoke briefly during the press conference about testing for COVID-19 in the state.
Dillaha said that in most cases, those infected with the virus begin exhibiting symptoms in about five-six days after they are infected. Those individuals typically begin spreading the virus 1-2 days before they develop symptoms, she said, and it takes about 10 days after the development of symptoms for the body to clear the virus before the infected individual is no longer contagious.
In cases severe enough to require hospitaliziation, Dillaha said those individuals need to be isolated for 20 days.
“Identifying people when they first get symptoms is really a key strategy to stopping the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “It is very important that people who have been infected and develop symptoms get isolated as quickly as possible.”
Dillaha said that PCR tests are the most accurate tests currently available, but those must be sent off to a lab to be analyzed, and that can take time. She said that newer antigen tests can give a result in 15-20 minutes can be reliable for positive results, though they should be backed up with PCR tests to verify negative results.
Antigen tests, she said, can be helpful for tracking the spread of the virus and for identifying individuals that may have had the virus in the past, but are not helpful for identifying current positive cases.
* There were 1,251 cases removed on Aug. 15 that were duplicates or from out of the state.