The number of known positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas reached 54,765 on Thursday, which is an increase of 549 since Wednesday.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the numbers during his coronavirus press briefing at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock.
Hutchinson said 6,898 tests had been conducted in the past 24 hours. The state has so far reported 115,479 tests in August to put toward the governor’s goal of conducting 180,000 tests this month or 6% of the state’s population.
Of the new cases announced Thursday, 50 are from correctional facilities and 499 are from the general community, said Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero.
The top counties for new cases the past 24 hours include Pulaski (51), Sebastian (35), Jefferson (29), Garland (24), Crawford (22), Craighead (21), Mississippi (20) and Pope (20).
Hospitalizations remain unchanged at 499, and patients on a ventilator are down six to 108.
There were 10 new deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 641.
As of Thursday, there are 5,666 active cases, which is a reduction of 253 since Wednesday. There are so far 48,458 people who have bee categorized as having recovered from the illness.
Education Secretary Johnny Key said the state has 2,000 COVID-19 screening kits to distribute to districts across the state. Key said there are 1,055 school buildings in Arkansas and each building will get at least one kit that includes a thermometer, gloves, masks, sanitizing wipes and other PPE.
Key said districts are not required to conduct COVID-19 screenings for anyone entering school buildings.
“But we wanted to provide this to our districts in case it’s something they wanted to do,” said Key.
Key also showed a slide with new guidelines for changes that could occur in schools depending on the rate of infections in a particular district (see last slide below).