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Coronavirus in Arkansas: Governor Hutchinson, Sec. of Health give update on cases, response in Rogers

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ROGERS, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson and Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of Health, gave an update in Rogers Monday afternoon on cases, testing and the state’s response.

As of Monday afternoon, there are 7,443 total coronavirus cases and 133 deaths in the state, according to Governor Asa Hutchinson.

That is an increase of 190 cases. Dr. Smith said three of the new cases are in correctional facilities and 187 are in the community.

Dr. Smith said 1,909 are active cases. Of the active cases, 78 are in nursing homes, 53 are in correctional facilities and 1,778 are in communities, according to Dr. Smith.

Smith said eight additional health care workers, seven additional nursing home residents and eight additional nursing home staff have tested positive for the virus.

Northwest Arkansas has seen an uptick of cases over the last week and a half.

Dr. Smith said so far, 1,749 people have tested for the virus in northwest Arkansas and the positivity rate for the region is 5.8%.

According to state officials, the Latino community makes up 43% of cases in northwest Arkansas.

No new deaths were announced on Monday, keeping the state death toll due to complications from the coronavirus to 133.

State officials say 121 people are hospitalized due to the coronavirus in Arkansas, which is an increase of six.

Twenty-six people are on ventilators due to COVID-19, according to Dr. Smith.

State officials say our hospital space is more than adequate to handle things right now.

Dr. Smith said 5,401 people have recovered from the virus in Arkansas, which was an increase of 126.

According to Governor Hutchinson, 3,798 tests were done Sunday with a positivity rate of 6%.

Governor Hutchinson announced on Monday 80,808 people were tested in Arkansas in May. The goal was 60,000 tests.

Dr. Smith said there is still a need to increase testing.

Dr. Smith said Tennessee tested 3.8% of its population in May. Smith says his goal is to test 4% of Arkansas’s population, or 120,000 in June.

The governor also commended poultry industry leaders in the state, saying they set the national model for best practices. Gov. Hutchinson said Tyson is testing every worker and Simmons is testing all new applicants and employees.

State officials say 571 poultry workers have been infected with the coronavirus. State officials say 73% of the workers infected are Latino.

“We will not be going to Phase 2 until we get a handle on the uptick of these cases,” Governor Hutchinson said.

State officials said we need to work to manage the risk when it goes to working and going to school and we can’t be sheltered for that long.

Governor Hutchinson also spoke about the protests happening in the state due to the death of George Floyd. Hutchinson called it “a senseless death”. The governor said he respects and supports a peaceful protest. Hutchinson said the outrage is understandable, but violence and destruction of property are not acceptable. He will be speaking more about the protests at 4 p.m.

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