After announcing its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in over a month on Tuesday, Arkansas saw nearly double the number of daily cases Wednesday, bringing the total to over 51,000.
The state added 703 new cases Wednesday. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas is now 51,114. Of those cases 6,725 are considered active, with 741 of total active cases in correctional facilities and 69 of them in nursing homes.
Pulaski County had the highest number of new cases with 78. Logan County added 47 new cases, while Sebastian County had 43.
During his daily briefing on the coronavirus, taking place on Wednesday in Monticello, Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke on the increase in cases.
"Obviously that’s an increase from yesterday, but it’s a decrease from the previous three days I believe it is and so it shows that we continue to be flat, but we’re not where we need to be as a state," Hutchinson said.
The state logged the testing of 4,401 Arkansans in the past 24 hours. That number is a little over 250 more than Tuesday’s testing number.
The number of Arkansans hospitalized decreased by 21 for a total of 486. 113 patients are in a ventilator, a decrease of three. Seven more people have died in Arkansas from the coronavirus. The death toll is now 573.
With fewer than two weeks left before school starts, the state announced on Tuesday an expanded partnership with the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement to provide coronavirus data by school district as opposed to just the county. However, that data currently would only give district-wide data as opposed to the number of coronavirus cases per school.
When asked about whether there are plans to further specify coronavirus data when it comes to schools, Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero said the state is looking into it.
"There will be, as we talked about, school district and if possible down to the school level. We’re discussing that now. We don’t know whether we can actually do that and respect confidentiality and HIPAA, but we are going to work that end and we’re looking at that very carefully," Romero said.
Both that Arkansas Education Association and the Arkansas chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics oppose a statewide in-person approach to opening schools for the fall.