Mena Mayor Seth Smith introduced Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the last daily COVID-19 Taskforce press conference in Mena on Friday.
Before sharing COVID-19 updates, Hutchinson shared he was encouraged after meeting with local leaders who reported a smooth start of the school year and a solid local economy.
The Governor also took a moment to honor Patriot Day and the lives lost and brave heroes who answered the call as a result of the September 11 attacks that occurred 19 years ago.
The last meeting did not start on a high note, however, with Hutchinson reporting the highest number of confirmed new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. Cases over the past 24 hours grew by 1,107, raising the state’s total to 67,911.
It was disappointing news considering the relatively low and encouraging case growth this week. The record was previously set on Sept. 4 when state officials confirmed 1,094 additional cases. Hutchinson did add some nuance to the numbers announced on Friday.
Arkansas’ seven-day rolling average shows the median daily growth rate is around 500 cases. Other figures updated on Friday showed no net increase of hospitalizations. Currently 392 Arkansans are hospitalized by illness caused by COVID-19, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Deaths increased by 13 to 953. The state performed over 7,100 tests over the previous 24 hours. Confirmed active cases of the virus currently number approximately 5,700. Recoveries total more than 61,000.
Hutchinson addressed national reporting in relation to a recent study from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. This study linked dining out to the spread of COVID-19. Hutchinson said he and state health officials did not see that correlation in Arkansas’ data. That data, as well as statewide contact tracing efforts, suggested Arkansans carrying COVID-19 were several times more likely to visit a retail environment than a restaurant.
In review, state officials reported a new one-day record in COVID-19 case growth on Friday of 1,107. Cumulative cases since the start of the pandemic grew to 67,911. Deaths increased by 13 to 953. Hospitalizations did not see an increase and remain at 392. Over 61,000 Arkansans have recovered from the virus. Confirmed active cases currently number 5,700.
Hutchinson will provide another statewide update on Tuesday.