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story.lead_photo.caption This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). (CDC via AP, file photo)

EDITOR'S NOTE: As a service to our readers, The Sentinel-Record will publish daily updates released each weekday by the city of Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas.

The following stats were shared Tuesday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson's daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health's website:

• 4,923 cases confirmed statewide, up 110 from Monday.

• 93,701 test results, up 6,087 from Monday.

• 5.3% rate of infection, down from 5.5% Monday.

• 1,082 active cases, up 14 from Monday.

• 3,739 recoveries, up 94 from Monday.

• 102 deaths, up two from Monday.

• 78 cases requiring hospitalization, up one from Monday.

• 14 cases on a ventilator, up two from Monday.

• 325 nursing home residents infected, up one from Monday.

• 130 cases in Garland County, no change from Monday.

• 3,492 test results for Garland County, up 69 from Monday.

• 3.7% rate of infection, down from 3.8% Monday.

• 118 recoveries in Garland County, up one from Monday.

• 11 active cases in Garland County, down one from Monday.

• One death in Garland County, no change from Monday.

Hutchinson said the state plans to test all nursing home residents and staff next month.

"This will result in approximately 40,000 to 50,000 new tests next month," he said. "If you add that to our routine testing, you're going to see a very large number of tests next month in Arkansas. This additional testing will better protect our nursing home residents and will protect our staff. It will give confidence to our staff and our residents we're doing everything we can to make sure there's no spread and contagion in those facilities."

Nursing home residents accounted for 83 of the 1,082 active cases reported Tuesday.

Hutchinson said $21.8 million in Medicaid funds have been distributed for bonus payments to more than 8,000 nursing home workers, whom he said have acted "heroically" during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 106 new community cases reported Tuesday raised the state's rolling seven-day average of new cases for a third-straight day. The 73.14 average was the eighth day in a nine-day period where the moving average increased. It's up 56.3% from the 46.8 average May 10.

The 110 total cases, which included four from correctional settings, reported Tuesday reduced the seven-day rolling average of total cases, dropping it from 110 Monday to 108.4 Tuesday.

"Since we've tripled our testing rate we've identified a lot of cases, especially asymptomatic cases, that we weren't picking up before," Dr. Nate Smith, Health Department secretary, said. "If you look at the pattern going up and down, that's not really a biological pattern.

"It's not usual that you have 50 new infections one day and 100 the next day and back to 50 the next day. This is really more of a function of our testing and where we've targeted our testing in the state. Hopefully, as we continue to increase our testing, identify more of these new cases and interrupt the spread of COVID-19, we'll see those numbers stabilize and also go down."

Hutchinson said almost 40,000 tests have been done in May, including 3,014 Monday. He said Monday's results had a 1.5% positivity rate.

No new cases were reported Tuesday in Garland County, but its rolling seven-day average of new cases remained above one for a sixth-straight day.

Hutchinson said per White House rules, he'll be given his first test for the coronavirus prior to his meeting today with the president and vice president.

Local on 05/20/2020

Print Headline: State to test all nursing homes

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