Gov. Hutchinson pushes for more test results; ACHI releases COVID-19 numbers by ZIP code

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,370 views 

With just 3,300 test results produced in the previous 24 hours, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero on Tuesday (Aug. 25) again challenged Arkansans to get tested for the COVID-19 virus.

The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) also announced Tuesday the release of data showing COVID-19 case counts by Arkansas ZIP code.

Known COVID-19 cases in Arkansas totaled 57,374 on Tuesday, up from 56,894 on Monday, with 3,300 test results from the previous 24 hours. Of the 480 new cases, two were from correctional facilities. There are 5,312 active cases.

The number of deaths rose from 696 to 711. The number of COVID patients hospitalized in Arkansas was 442 on Tuesday, down from 466 on Monday. There are 108 patients on ventilators, unchanged from Monday. There are 51,351 cumulative recovered cases.

The top five counties with new known cases were: Pulaski (80), Faulkner (41), Sebastian (38), Saline (22) and Jefferson (19). The counties accounted for 41.8% of the 478 new community cases.

As of Tuesday at 1 p.m., there were 5,755,002 U.S. cases and 177,773 deaths. Globally, there were 23,721,008 cases and 814,852 deaths.

Gov. Hutchinson said he asked the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) to boost the testing numbers.

“I’ve challenged the Department of Health to really look for different creative ways to invigorate those testing numbers so that we can have a higher testing result … and have a good surveillance of what we meet across the state,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero, and head of the ADH, said Arkansans must avoid “testing fatigue” and know that state testing labs will test people free of charge. He said Tuesday’s test results number was low primarily because so few tests were submitted to the state health lab for results.

“Without those numbers, we cannot give an adequate forecast, an adequate idea of what the numbers of cases and prevalence are in your county, and especially for schools …,” Romero said.

The new ACHI data is current as of Aug. 17, and shows cumulative and active COVID cases and cumulative and active cases per 10,000 population by ZIP code. The new data does not include cases from prisons, and ZIP codes with fewer than 10 cases are not included.

“This new information provides one more lens into Arkansas’ COVID-19 outbreak at the local level,” ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said in a statement. “One thing it shows is that rates of infection vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood: Some ZIP codes have fewer than 10 active cases per 10,000 residents, while some have more than 100 cases per 10,000 residents.”