One week after seeing its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases, Arkansas has again added the largest number of daily COVID-19 cases to its total since the pandemic began.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, the state tallied 1,107 new coronavirus cases. The total number of cases in the state is now 67,911. Of the total number of cases, 5,713 are considered active.
The state added 7,801 PCR testing results in the past 24 hours. 2,444 of those tests were conducted by the health department, 4,957 were from commercial labs, while UAMS submitted 400. The state also recorded 459 antigen tests, with 78 of those returning a positive result.
Speaking during his last daily weekday briefing on the coronavirus Friday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said 225 of those case results came from one lab in one day.
"And so you’re going to see that when you’re dealing with commercial labs, that they might send a large number in one 24-hour period versus getting them periodically each day. And that’s why that seven-day rolling average is the most instructive in terms of where we are because that averages and smooths those spikes out," Hutchinson said.
Hospitalizations remained the same at 392, while those on a ventilator decreased by three to 76. However, 13 more Arkansans have died from the coronavirus, bringing the state’s death toll to 953.
According to Health Secretary Dr. José Romero, of the state’s 67,911 total number of cases, 12.9% of them are from colleges and universities. However, Romero said a few days earlier that percentage was even higher.
"Our data is not real time in that day. Sometimes we get this data a little later, so we’ll wait and see where it’s going. But this [12.9%] is less than it was in a previous reading," Romero said.
Hutchinson said he wasn’t very surprised by the sudden uptick in new cases after the state experienced lower positive case totals the majority of the week.
"I think you heard me say on Monday, when we were having very low numbers that I wouldn’t be surprised, in fact I actually expect a spike. And we see that pattern. We’ll go for a number of days with declining and lower numbers and then it’ll shoot up. This is a high shoot up, but it was also 1,000 last Friday," Hutchinson said.
When asked about the continued lower number of those on a ventilator in the state, Romero cited both the higher number of cases in younger people and the advancement of treatments compared to earlier in the pandemic as possible reasons for that decrease.
"So I think that it’s multifactorial, and certainly the fact that we’re making the public aware of the significance of this disease, that they’re coming in earlier because the later you come in with your disease, the less effective therapy is. As with any viral disease, you want to try to treat it early if possible, and the earlier the treat it, potentially the better outcome," Romero said.
Pulaski County had the highest number of new cases with 105. Washington County and Craighead County added 91 and 61 new cases respectively. Ten counties had 20 or more new cases Friday.