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story.lead_photo.caption Governor Hutchinson addresses the media as he delivers a daily address on Arkansas’ response to COVID-19 on Friday, July 31. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Stephen Swofford)

Governor Asa Hutchinson reported an increase of 29 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Union County Friday; however, according to the Arkansas Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, there had been 32 new cases identified in the county since Thursday, bringing the cumulative number of cases identified locally to 428 on Friday.

During each day’s COVID-19 update, Hutchinson lists the Arkansas counties where COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 20. On Friday, 11 counties saw such case growth, Hutchinson said. He said Union and Crittenden were sixth in the list of counties with 20 or more new cases reported, but based on the list of counties he provided and the number of cases reported by the ADH, Union County would actually rank fifth.

The counties that saw a more case growth than Union on Friday were Sebastian, the fourth-most populous county in the state, where Fort Smith and Greenwood are located, which added 81 new cases; Pulaski, the most populous county in the state, where Little Rock is, which added 77 new cases; Benton, the second-most populous county in the state, where Bentonville is, which added 51 new cases; and Washington, the third-most populous county in the state, where Fayetteville is, which added 41 new cases.

Hutchinson also cited Independence County, the 21st-most populous county, where Batesville is located, which he said added 31 new cases. Union County is the 18th-most populous county in Arkansas.

Of the 428 cases in the county reported by the ADH on Friday, 334 were considered recovered, up six from Thursday. Active cases jumped above 70 for the first time to 78, according to the ADH, representing an increase of 26 from Thursday and 18.22% of the county’s cumulative number of cases. Friday’s increase represents the largest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases the county has seen yet, as well as a new record in the number of active cases.

No changes were reported in any of the congregate living facilities in the county where COVID-19 cases have been identified. An ADH spokesperson said a decrease in two worker cases at Timberlane Health and Rehab noted Thursday was due to a previous over-count of the number of workers there who have tested positive; she noted that the data in the ADH’s congregate settings reports produced each week day is provisional.

In all, two of six total worker cases at Timberlane remain active; and one of four total worker cases at Community Living Arrangements remains active. Active cases in congregate living facilities represented 3.84% of all active cases in the county on Friday.

The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement released updated city-level COVID-19 data again this week. The data is recent as of July 27, which was Monday. Only cities where 10 or more cases had been identified by Monday are listed, and the ACHI also included the number of active cases cities had Monday if they met the 10-case threshold in active cases.

According to the ACHI, on Monday, 275 cases had been identified in El Dorado, representing 1.56% of the population, with 50 still active; 11 cases had been identified in Huttig, representing 2.08% of the population; 24 cases had been identified in Junction City, representing 4.92% of the population; 15 cases had been identified in Smackover, representing .89% of the population; and 22 cases had been identified in Strong, representing 4.37% of the population.

No new local deaths attributable to COVID-19 were reported Friday. Sixteen Union County residents have died as a result of the virus, eight of whom resided in nursing homes in the county.

The ADH reported 58 new negative test results returned from Union County Friday, which indicates a one-day local positivity rate of 35.55%. In all, 4,466 COVID-19 test results have returned from the county, with 4,038 negatives, indicating an overall local positivity rate of 9.58%.

Hutchinson said there were 752 new COVID-19 cases identified statewide Friday, bringing the state’s cumulative number of cases to 42,511. Of those, 35,413 were considered recovered Friday, leaving 6,645 cases — 15.63% of the state’s cumulative total — active Friday.

He also reported the deaths resulting from COVID-19 of an additional 11 Arkansans, bringing the state’s death toll to 453, indicating a state COVID mortality rate of 1.06%. There was a net increase of three Arkansans who were hospitalized due to the virus Friday making 507 total and a net decrease of one state resident on ventilator support making 100 ventilated in all.

Hutchinson said 7,207 COVID-19 tests were performed in the 24 hour period preceding Friday’s news briefing on COVID-19. Through July 30, 188,478 COVID-19 tests had been performed in the state; Interim ADH Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said the state will likely be close to Hutchinson’s goal of 200,000 tests performed in July, but not quite meet it once the number of tests performed Friday is totaled up.

The ADH reported 5,559 new negative test results statewide, indicating a one-day positivity rate for the state of 11.91% based on the number of cases and results reported Friday. Since the state began testing for COVID-19, 509,028 tests have been performed, with 466,517 negative results, indicating an overall positivity rate for the state of 8.35%.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there were 4,550,247 COVID-19 cases in the United States at 6:10 p.m. Friday. Of those, 1,438,160 were considered recovered, leaving 2,952,949 cases — 64.89% — active nationwide. There had been 153,138 deaths attributable to the virus in the U.S. by Friday afternoon, indicating a national COVID mortality rate of 3.36%.

Johns Hopkins reported 17,482,778 COVID-19 cases worldwide Friday afternoon. Of those, 10,256,467 were considered recovered, leaving 6,549,294 cases — 37.46% — active around the world. There had been 677,017 deaths attributable to the virus by Friday afternoon, indicating a global COVID mortality rate of 3.87%.

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