Arkansas reported over 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday. It is the second highest number of cases recorded in the state total, and the highest recorded of non-incarcerated people.
According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state recorded 1,013 daily cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 36,259. Of those cases, 7,009 of them are considered active, with 146 in nursing homes.
Currently, 14 counties in Arkansas have 112 or more active cases of COVID-19.
Pulaski County again led the state in new cases with 113. Washington and Benton counties had 76 and 73 new cases respectively. Sebastian County recorded 65.
Hospitalizations increased by six for a total of 480 and six more people died from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 386. The number of those on a ventilator remains at 107.
Speaking during his daily briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said because the number of cases reported Wednesday was lower than normally recorded, he wasn’t surprised to see Thursday’s total.
"With the low of 591 cases, but the delay in some of the entry into the system, I had confidence that the number would be much higher, and it is," Hutchinson said.
Of the total number of active cases, 869 are in correctional facilities including jails. The Ouachita River Unit in Malvern represents 66% of those total active cases, with 577.
Speaking on the Ouachita River Unit, Hutchinson said the state needs to focus on the outbreak there.
"This population includes all of those with special needs within the prison environment. That have those inmates that have medical issues. It includes an elderly population, those that might have mental health issues and it serves as the prison’s hospital facility as well," Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said with over 500 cases in the Ouachita River Unit, he has asked the Arkansas Department of Corrections to give “special attention” to health needs in the unit.
When asked whether there are any plans to lift current restrictions on visitation or volunteer services, Hutchinson said there are not.
"It’s such a fragile environment in terms of how easy it is to bring the virus in. We have risk enough with staff going into the community and back in. We cannot expand that into visitation at this time," Hutchinson said.
Also during the briefing, Hutchinson appointed Solomon Graves as Secretary of the Department of Corrections, after the resignation of previous secretary Wendy Kelley.