Sept. 11, 2020 4:00 p.m. — Hosting his daily coronavirus press briefing in Mena on the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain campus in Mena, Arkansas Governor Asa announced 1,107 new positive cases of COVID-19, a record number in a 24- hour period. It could be related to the previous Labor Day holiday he said, with increased socializing, but warned it’s too early to tell. Of that number, 225 positive cases came from one single commercial lab which sent a large number of results at one time.
“I expect a spike,” Hutchinson said. “And we’ll see this pattern, a decline and then a high shoot up.”
Arkansas Sec. of Health Jose Romero reported 67,911 total positive cases since the pandemic began, of those 5,713 are active. Fewer people are now on ventilators, he said, which number six, with no new hospitalizations, currently at 392. Romero attributes the use of steriods, antiviral drugs, and convalescent plasma for fewer hospitalized on ventilators, currently at 7. Thirteen more Arkansans have died, he said, for a total of 953. Over 7,800, tests conducted in the last 24 hour period, 2,400 were by public health departments. Of 459 antigen tests, 78 were positive.
The top age group presently most affected are 25 to 44 year olds, followed by those age 0 to 7. The smallest number of cases are occurring among those 65 and older because they are being very careful, Hutchinson said. National media is reporting a majority of new positive cases being traced to restaurants, but contact tracing in Arkansas, Hutchinson said, finds only 4 percent of positive cases traced to restaurants, which are working hard to comply with state pandemic guidelines.
The top counties most affected by Covid-19 are Pulaski, Washington, Benton, Sebastian, Crawford Faulkner and Carroll County -- which counts 518 total positive cases. If cases continue to rise over multiple days, Hutchinson said, he will first consider mandating increased contact tracing and more testing, rather than take broader restrictions.
Even with 13 percent of today’s positive cases occurring on college campuses, including the University of Arkansas which currently counts 888 total active cases among students, staff and faculty, Hutchinson said the UofA and higher educators are making the right decisions and taking the right actions.
Hutchinson on Thursday announced he would cease doing daily pandemic press briefings, instead starting next week hosting briefings once a week, every Tuesday, or more as needed. You can view all the governor’s press conferences on his YouTube page.