Coronavirus in Ark.: Gov. Hutchinson, Sec. of Health give update on state’s COVID-19 response in Batesville

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BATESVILLE, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson and Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero gave an update Wednesday afternoon on the number of coronavirus cases and the state’s response.

Governor Hutchinson said as of Wednesday afternoon, there are an additional 606 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 95 new probable cases. The 606 cases are positive PCR tests and the 95 probable cases are positive antigen tests.

According to Dr. Romero, the counties with the highest number of new cases are Washington County (65), Pulaski County (58), Benton County (37), Faulkner County (31), Jefferson County (29), Miller County (21) and Craighead County (20).

According to Hutchinson, there have been 70,731 cumulative coronavirus cases in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.

Governor Hutchinson also announced there were seven additional confirmed deaths, bringing the number of total confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 to 1,010.

At the time of the news conference, state officials said they did not know the exact number of probable deaths.

Dr. Romero said there are currently 5,572 active cases in the state.

According to Romero, the overall positivity rate since the pandemic began is 8.3%.

The governor said there are currently 387 people hospitalized in Arkansas due to the virus, which is a decrease of two.

Dr. Romero announced Wednesday 65 people are on a ventilator in the state due to the virus, which is a decrease of three.

The governor said 6,360 PCR and 529 antigen tests were completed on Tuesday.

During Wednesday’s briefing, the governor spoke about modeling from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) released Tuesday. In the modeling, there is a new projection the state could have 980 deaths in addition to the over 1,000 the state already has. It was also noted in the UAMS modeling there could be a spread of cases because of the opening of schools and colleges. The report also noted there has been a decrease in the positivity rate in Arkansas.

According to Governor Hutchinson, the White House released their most recent report, which says while Arkansas is still in the red overall, new cases per capita are declining and the positivity rate is in the yellow.

The governor said they are sticking to the weekly update, but did the update in Batesville on Wednesday because he committed to visiting a few weeks ago and he didn’t want to cancel.

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