The daily coronavirus update continued a string of daily increases, with 249 new cases, for a total statewide of 8,067.
Hospitalizations rose six to 138, a record high. Deaths rose by six to 142 (55 in nursing homes).
Not as high as yesterday (370) “but still a high number of cases,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. He acknowledged that the rolling average continues to rise. “We hope that will flatten out at some point.”
Looking for good news, Hutchinson emphasized a decline in active nursing home cases and the number of nursing homes that are coronavirus-free. He also emphasizes how increased testing has produced many new cases. But he also acknowledged the positive rate is continuing around 5 percent.
He announced a plan for massive testing of nursing homes and other congregant facilities.
Dr. Nate Smith, the Health director, said Pulaski County led the new cases with 33. Washington County had 28 and Benton 23. Sevier and Crittenden also had double-digit increases.
He also said the state would be working to allow visitation in nursing homes again. Visitors will have to be screened and wear masks. They’ll meet in a designated area rather than patient rooms. Visitors will be limited and screened for risk. It won’t be “zero-risk,” but the state hopes to minimize risk and make it happen.
Smith said cases don’t seem to be arising from newly reopened businesses, such as restaurants. Growth seems to be localized to Latino people and younger people in Northwest and Southwest Arkansas, including in the poultry industry.