Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday warned Arkansans that he expected a record week for new COVID-19 cases. Just one day later, he announced the highest case increase ever recorded in the state.
The governor said 6,562 new cases of the virus were reported overnight, which is the largest increase announced in a single day since the pandemic began.
Active cases (32,380) and the case positivity rate (25.5%) for new tests also set record highs on Tuesday, the governor said.
"That tells us that we are entering a period of probably the greatest risk and the greatest challenge that we have faced during the pandemic," he said.
Hutchinson announced 27 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the state as a result of the pandemic to 9,248.
Hospitalizations were up by 53 Tuesday, bringing the total number of patients hospitalized in the state to 775.
There were 8,912 PCR tests announced Tuesday and 5,346 antigen tests.
The governor said the state is monitoring the recent increase in hospitalizations, and is prepared to activate the state's hospital surge plan if needed in the coming weeks. Hutchinson said the state has invested $60 million over the last year in expanding space in the state's hospitals for ICU and medical surge beds, but he admitted staffing those beds will be a challenge.
There are currently 118 patients in the state on ventilators, up three from the day prior.
Aw previously mentioned, there are 32,380 cases of COVID-19 considered active in the state, which includes those that have tested positive by both PCR and antigen testing methods. The state's dashboard currently lists 1,469 active cases in Benton County, and 1,703 active cases in Washington County, though those numbers to not include today's announced cases.
The new cases bring the total cumulative count in Arkansas to 581,134 since the pandemic began.
Top counties for new cases in the state Tuesday included Pulaski (1,332), Washington (472), and Craighead (439).
Arkansas is averaging 3,311 new cases per day, or 110 per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks. According to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker, cases in the state are up by 331 percent over the last 14 days.
The state announced that 9,400 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, bringing the total number of doses given by the state to 3,723,254. The state lists 357,124 as partially immunized, and 1,509,843 individuals as fully immunized.
All Arkansans ages 5 and older are currently eligible for a vaccine. Those who need assistance locating a vaccine can call 1-800-985-6030.