(07/14/20) 794 new cases reported

The following statistics were shared Tuesday, July 14, at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website:

  • 29,733 total confirmed cases, up 794 from 28,939 on Monday.
  • 6,558 active cases, up 48 from Monday.
  • 22,844 recoveries, up 738 from Monday.
  • 331 deaths, up eight from Monday.
  • 445 cases requiring hospitalization, up six from Monday.
  • 91 cases requiring a ventilator, up two from Monday.  
  • 341 cumulative cases in Garland County, up nine from Monday.
  • 70 active cases in Garland County, up five from Monday.
  • 268 recoveries in Garland County, up four from Monday.
  • 3 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases was 794, with 33 from correctional facilities and 761 from the community. The counties with the highest number of new cases were Pulaski (111), Washington (68), Sebastian (52), Pope (41), Johnson (37), Benton (36), Craighead (29) and Faulkner (24). There was a total of 6,563 test results reported in the past 24 hours.

Hutchinson explained that the state strategy on fighting the coronavirus involves testing, tracing and isolation, as well as individuals’ responsibility of social distancing and wearing a mask. “These are all things that fit together to save lives, reduce the burden on hospitals and allow movement of people for commerce, education and quality of life,” he said.

With one of the key elements being testing, the governor applauded the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) for their efforts to increase their testing capacity, which it has done significantly over the past few weeks, whereas test results coming from the nationwide commercial labs has decreased. In the past 24 hours, ADH’s lab completed a record number 1,832 tests, which is more than their lab did in the entire month of March.

“We have made tremendous progress, but we will continue to make progress because we are still having some individuals have to wait far too long to get their test results,” said Nate Smith, Arkansas Secretary of Health. “And I know that the commercial labs have constraints; our hospitals are having struggles getting reagents, so they’re not able to test everyone that they might want to test. So we are going to try to increase our capacity at the Public Health Lab as much as possible. In fact, we have plans to basically double our capacity, bringing on hopefully two additional high throughput instruments.”

Hutchinson also applauded Arkansas’ federal delegation, which has written the vice president a letter of support for expanding testing capacity for our commercial labs. The letter was signed by all six members of our delegation, he said.

The positivity rate graph showed that six days from last week were above the 10% positive mark, bringing the seven-day rolling average above the 10% line starting on July 9.

Hutchinson said the state is strengthening the enforcement side of monitoring “to make sure the businesses that are inspected, that have not been in compliance, to make sure they get the message and correct their behavior.” There are 1,000 complaints that are pending, that have not been reviewed, he added.

Hutchinson recognized eight cities that have opted mask ordinances, six of which used the model ordinance approved by his executive order, including Hot Springs, Conway, Rogers, North Little Rock, Helena-West Helena, Tontitown, Fayetteville and Little Rock. 

ADH added a second contact tracing vendor last week – The Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care. Pending legislative approval of the contracted amount, it is anticipated this second vendor will start on July 20, adding an additional 350 contact tracers. General Dynamics Information Technology, from the first contact tracing contract, had hired 83 staff as of last Thursday. These new staff have started contact tracing, and there are an additional 1,200 applicants to fill the total of 350 contact tracing positions.