COVID-19 cases top 36,000; Sen. Rapert says he has tested positive for the virus

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 612 views 

Dr. Jose Romero, seen here during a July 23 daily COVID-19 briefing, was on Wednesday (Aug. 5) named the Arkansas Secretary of Health.

The number of new known COVID-19 cases in Arkansas reported Thursday (July 23) topped 1,000, but some of the cases were not reported Wednesday because of technical errors. Gov. Asa Hutchinson also wished Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, well after it was reported the legislator tested positive for COVID.

Known COVID-19 cases in Arkansas totaled 36,259, on Thursday, up from 35,246 on Wednesday. Of the 1,013 new cases, 5 were from correctional facilities. The Thursday case number includes some cases that, because of data entry issues, should have been included in the Wednesday report

There are 7,009 active cases. The number of deaths rose from 380 to 386. The number of COVID patients hospitalized in Arkansas was 480 on Thursday, up from 474 on Wednesday. There are 107 patients on ventilators, unchanged from Wednesday. Of the known cases since March 11, 28,864 have recovered.

The top five counties with new cases reported were: Pulaski (113), Washington (76), Benton (73), Sebastian (65), and Crittenden (43). The counties accounted for 40.8% of the 1,008 new community cases reported Thursday.

As of Thursday at 1 p.m., there were 3,991,025 U.S. cases and 143,701 deaths. Globally, there were 15,301,530 cases and 625,005 deaths.

Gov. Hutchinson also said he has directed leadership at the Arkansas Department of Corrections to focus on containing a COVID outbreak at the Ouachita River Unit in Malvern, and do more to protect the inmates there. All inmates at the prison, which has a capacity of 1,782 inmates, have been tested with 577 being positive. The facility has 537 employees, according to ADC. The governor said the Ouachita River prison population is older with many having underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to severe reactions from the virus.

“Everyone should know that we care about our inmates. They didn’t ask for COVID-19. That was not expected during their period of incarceration. We want to make sure that they have the protection that they need, and we’re working hard to make sure that we treat them in the best way possible to speed up their recovery,” Gov. Hutchinson said during his daily COVID-19 briefing.

Since the pandemic began in Arkansas, there have been 4,655 cumulative COVID cases in Arkansas’ prisons, with 869 cases active as of Thursday. There have been 3,765 recoveries and 21 deaths.

Sen. Rapert on Thursday made public his positive COVID test and that he was admitted to the hospital for treatment.

“We wish him well for a speedy recovery in this,” the governor said.