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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

Arkansas to Show COVID-19 City Case Data

July 17, 2020 5:00 p.m. — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today that the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement will be providing COVID-19 city-level data to the public. ACHI Director Dr. Joe Thompson says municipalities have been requesting local case counts, which until now has been issued only by county. ACHI will provide data for over 600 cities, but only if positive case counts exceed ten. Thompson says mayors are seeking local data to effectively warn residents, and better enforce a new statewide mask mandate, issued on Thursday. The city COVID-19 case data will be updated weekly.

Arkansas Department of Health reported 648 new COVID-19 cases statewide Friday, for a total of 31,762. Of those, 6,633 remain active, 131 are in nursing homes, 113 in correctional centers, and 4,889 are community cases. Pulaksi County counts  68 new cases, Washington County 44, Craighead County 32, Pope County 30, Benton County 29, Garland County 24, Sebastian County 22, and Saline County 21. Arkansas is seeing a decrease in hospitalizations, down 6 to 464, but is reporting 12 additional deaths, a data lag, which occurred over the past several weeks, for a total of 334.  

Since yesterday, 581 have recovered, for a total of 24,776. Yesterday 5,861 people were tested for COVID-19. Arkansas Sec. of Health Nate Smith says much more testing is required to meet monthly goals, and results delay should ease with deployment of several new high throughput medical devices, recently acquired. He also says the state expects to triple contact tracing in the coming weeks.  

Hutchinson says the 7-day rolling average for positive cases is trending downward, especially in northwest Arkansas.

Governor Hutchinson announced he is meeting with state and local law enforcement to encourage adoption of his new statewide mask mandate, which goes into effect Monday. His executive order requires law enforcement to first issue warnings for individuals not wearing a mask in public, followed by a citation resulting in a fine. He says enforcement methods are to be decided county and city police chiefs and mayors. 

Hutchinson also announced that today was the final time Dr. Nate Smith would appear at the Governor’s daily coronavirus press briefing. Smith has accepted a new position with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

You can watch the daily news briefings here.

Jacqueline Froelich is an investigative reporter and news producer for Ozarks at Large.