Gov. Hutchinson hopes COVID-19 case trend is on the decline

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 594 views 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Saying it’s no time to be “cocky,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday (Aug. 11) that a report of just 314 new known COVID-19 community cases could mark a downward trend resulting in part from his July 20 mask mandate. The last day community cases were fewer than 350 was July 6 with 236 new community cases.

The number of tests reported Tuesday – 4,140 – also was lower than the approximately 5,500-6,000 daily tests that have been typical since early June.

Known COVID-19 cases in Arkansas totaled 50,411 on Tuesday, up from 50,028 on Monday. Of the 383 new cases, 69 were from correctional facilities. There are 6,847 active cases. The number of deaths rose from 555 to 566. The number of COVID patients hospitalized in Arkansas was 507 on Tuesday, down from 508 on Monday. There are 116 patients on ventilators, down from 117 on Monday. There are 42,998 cumulative recovered cases.

There were only three counties with more than 20 new community cases: Pulaski (63), Sebastian (31), and Carroll (20). The counties accounted for 36.3% of the 314 new community cases reported Tuesday.

As of Tuesday at 1 p.m., there were 5,102,837 U.S. cases and 164,101 deaths. Globally, there were 20,138,860 cases and 737,986 deaths.

Gov. Hutchinson said during his daily COVID-19 briefing there may be some spikes in future days, but “we hope the overall trend will be coming down.” For many reasons, a downward trend would be welcome. It took the state just a little over four months to reach 30,000 cases but just 26 days to see the case count rise by 65% to more than 50,000. Following are the known reported community cases in the past five days.
Aug. 7: 843
Aug. 8: 528
Aug. 9: 491
Aug. 10: 632
Aug. 11: 314

Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said the use of masks and social distancing are working to contain the virus.

“The trend appears to be going down. We think that if we have another day or two of this we can definitely say there is a downward trend. And this is most likely attributable to the mask mandate. And in order to keep that trend going downward we’re going to have to adhere to that and keep in mind social distancing and other recommended measures,” Romero said.

Arkansas Secretary of Education Johnny Key also reported Tuesday that the Arkansas Department of Education is working with the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement to provide school-district level information on COVID cases. However, the information will not provide specific numbers on COVID cases among students, teachers, staff and others employed by a school district. The data, to be first published later this week based on case numbers through Aug. 3, will reflect cumulative and active cases among the total population within a school district. The info will also show rates of testing per counties for the same period.

Key said the data will help state officials work with each school district to determine appropriate “response levels” a district should take when dealing with COVID-19 cases.

“We’ll have better data to make better decisions as we move forward with on-site education,” Key said.