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Active cases back up with 15 new local cases confirmed

by Caitlan Butler | August 21, 2020 at 10:24 p.m.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson discuses the new coronavirus data Friday, August 21 during the daily briefing at the Capitol building in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 15 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union County Friday, bringing the cumulative number of cases identified locally to 612.

There were 10 new recoveries reported for Union County Friday, making 528 total. Active cases increased by five to reach 63, representing 10.29% of the cumulative total in the county.

No new local deaths attributable to COVID-19 were reported Friday. Twenty-one Union County residents have died as a result of the virus.

The ADH had not released its nursing home and congregate settings report by the News-Times’ deadline Friday. Thursday’s report showed no change from Wednesday’s, when Hudson Memorial Nursing Home was reported to have one resident case and three worker cases, and Timberlane Health and Rehab was reported to have eight resident cases and eight worker cases.

The ADH reported 30 new negative test results returned for Union County Friday, indicating a one-day local positivity rate of 33.33% based on the number of new cases and results reported. In all, 6,964 COVID-19 test results have returned from Union County, with 6,352 negatives, indicating an overall local positivity rate of 8.88%.

The number of cases in Arkansas grew by 887 to reach a cumulative total of 55,652 Friday. Of those, 49,135 were considered recovered, leaving 5,854 cases — 10.52% of the cumulative total — active statewide.

Governor Asa Hutchinson reported the state’s largest increase in deaths resulting from COVID-19 yet Friday; 22 Arkansans were added to the state’s death toll, which reached 663, indicating a state COVID mortality rate of 1.19%.

“That’s certainly a sad day for many Arkansas families,” Hutchinson said.

The number of Arkansans hospitalized due to the virus rose by 10 Friday to 509, and the number of state residents on ventilator support increased by 12 to 120.

Hutchinson reported improvement in the state’s unemployment numbers Friday, saying that July’s unemployment rate was 3% below the national average at 7.1%. That’s also down a percentage point from June’s unemployment rate. He said the decrease from June represented about 14,000 more Arkansans working in July than were in June.

“We consider that to be good news for Arkansas and the recovery of our economy,” he said.

He also noted the fluctuations seen in the number of new cases added to the state’s cumulative total over the week; since last Friday, new cases have ranged from as low as 410 reported Tuesday to the 887 reported yesterday. Hutchinson said he believes the variance could be caused by people attending large group gatherings in communities.

“That is not smart; it is not good. And it leads to cases, and that leads to deaths. We have to be mindful of this. We’re not back to normal. We have more work to be done,” Hutchinson said. “Please make sure that the environment you go to, you think it through. … You need to have the team effort in wearing a mask.”

“Just be careful, use common sense, and we can work together to reduce those cases,” he said.

The ADH reported 6,396 test results returned between Thursday and Friday, indicating a one-day positivity rate for the state of 13.87% based on the number of new cases and results reported. There have been 122,734 COVID-19 test results returned to the ADH so far in August.

Since the state began testing for COVID-19, 658,591 results have been reported to the ADH, with 602,939 negatives, indicating an overall positivity rate for the state of 8.45%.

At 6 p.m. Friday, Johns Hopkins University reported 5,616,994 COVID-19 cases in the United States. Of those, 1,965,056 were considered recovered, leaving 3,476,719 cases — 61.9% — active nationwide. There had been 175,219 deaths attributable to the virus by Friday afternoon, indicating a national COVID mortality rate of 3.12%.

Johns Hopkins reported 22,813,916 COVID-19 cases worldwide Friday afternoon. Of those, 14,616,231 were considered recovered, leaving 7,401,344 cases — 32.44% — active around the world. There had been 796,341 deaths attributable to the virus by Friday afternoon, indicating a global COVID mortality rate of 3.49%.

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