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0000017d-2122-dd26-adfd-e56710ac0000IMPORTANT RESOURCESArkansas Department of Health's COVID-19 Update PageADH Coronavirus Hotline: 1-800-803-7847 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M-F) After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response call 501-661-2136Gov. Asa Hutchinson's statewide mask mandate goes into effect July 20

Health Secretary Explains How Masks Help Curb the Spread of COVID-19

July 13, 2020 2:30 p.m. —  In today's COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported the state has 28,939 positive cases, an increase of 572 from yesterday. Of those, 3 are in correctional facilities. Hospitalizations increased 19 for a total of 439. Arkansas has 323 deaths related to the coronavirus, an increase of 2.   Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said in the last 24 hours, 5,254 tests have been conducted.  He said more than 6,000 were conducted on both Saturday and Sunday.

Dr. Smith reported the state has 6,510 active cases. Of those, 127 are in nursing homes, 958 are in correctional facilities and 5,425 are in the community. The counties with the most new cases are Pulaski County with 77, Washington County with 53, Sebastian County with 40, Pope County with 25, Benton County with 23, Mississippi County with 23, Crittenden County with 22, Craighead County with 20 and Jefferson County with 20. Dr.  Smith said 515 more people have recovered bringing the state's total to 22,106 Arkansans recovered.  

Officials reported 1,061 new cases Saturday, the largest single-day increase the state has seen so far. Dr. Smith said a large proportion of the weekend's new cases, especially on Saturday, came from the Ouachita River Unit in Malvern. He said over the last four days more than 500 people have tested positive in that facility and officials are continuing to monitor the situation.

Dr. Smith also explained why masks are a tool against the spread of COVID-19. He said it's the same idea as a surgeon wearing a mask to keep their germs out of your surgical wound. Masks are designed for source control. If everyone wears a mask, then everyone is keeping their respiratory secretions from becoming airborne. 

Gov. Hutchinson also offered prayers for the Pryor family. Former Senator David Pryor and his wife, Barbara, have tested positive for COVID-19. Sen. Pryor remains in the hospital, while Barbara has returned home.

You can watch the entire daily briefing here