Gov. Hutchinson: COVID-19 cases ‘will continue to go up’

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,650 views 

There is no slowdown in the rise of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, especially in the state’s northwest corner that accounted for 46% of the 390 new community cases reported Monday (June 15). Of those, 126 were in Washington County.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has risen 166% – 8,060 new cases – in the past 30 days, from 4,857 cases on May 15, to 12,917 cases on June 15. A majority of the case growth is in Benton and Washington counties in Northwest Arkansas. As of Monday, Benton County had 1,480 cumulative cases, and Washington County had 1,925 cases – or 26.4% of all known cases in the state since March 11.

Known COVID-19 cases in Arkansas totaled 12,917 on Monday, up from 12,501 on Sunday, and up 12% from the 11,547 cases on Friday. Of the 416 new cases, 26 were from correctional facilities. Of the total cases, 4,383 are active cases. The number of deaths rose from 179 to 182. The number of COVID patients hospitalized in Arkansas was 206 on Monday, up from 201 on Sunday. There are 45 patients on ventilators, unchanged from Sunday. The number of Arkansans recovered is 8,352.

As of Monday at 1 p.m., there were 2,102,765 U.S. cases and 115,827 deaths. Globally, there were 7,963,453 cases and 434,388 deaths.

The rise in cases is not a surprise to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who stressed that his goal to keep as much of the economy open as possible depends on all Arkansans wearing face masks, following social distancing rules and other public health directives.

“I expect over the next week that the number of cases will continue to go up,” the governor said.

Modeling recently prepared and presented by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) shows that new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas could reach around 1,350 per day by Sept. 27, with around 3,100 hospitalizations by October.

Monday’s report showed 126 new cases in Washington County and 53 new cases in Benton County, or 46% of the new community cases reported. Of the cases in Benton County, 18 were from seven households. Gov. Hutchinson said hospital bed and other resource capacity is enough to meet case growth in Northwest Arkansaas, but is in contact with the UAMS to respond if capacity becomes an issue.

Of the 4,383 active cases as of Monday, 629 (14.4%) were in poultry plants.