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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 Thursday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson's daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health's website:

• 5,458 confirmed cases statewide, up 455 from Wednesday.

• 99,276 tests reported, up 3,018 from Wednesday.

• 5.5% rate of infection, up from 5.2% Wednesday.

• 1,433 active cases, up 389 from Wednesday.

• 3,915 recoveries, up 63 from Wednesday.

• 110 deaths, up three from Wednesday.

• 86 cases requiring hospitalization, up seven from Wednesday.

• 14 cases on a ventilator, down two from Wednesday.

• 330 nursing home residents infected, up three from Wednesday.

• 131 cases in Garland County, up one from Wednesday.

• 3,625 tests reported for Garland County, up 61 from Wednesday.

• 3.6% rate of infection, no change from Wednesday.

• 121 recoveries in Garland County, up one from Wednesday.

• Nine active cases in Garland County, no change from Wednesday.

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

The 455 new cases reported Thursday marked the state's largest single-day increase. They included 226 community cases that raised that category's rolling seven day average of new cases 21.7% to 90.43. It was the fifth-straight day the moving average grew and the 10th day of increases during an 11-day period. The average has risen 93.2% since May 10.

The rolling seven-day average of total new cases, which included 229 from correctional settings, increased to 156, a 42.4% increase from Wednesday.

"This is a concern to us," Hutchinson said. "We're watching it very carefully. We know that it's reflective of increased testing we're doing, but it's also something we want to be able to do our contact tracing on and make sure that we understand whether this represents a new outbreak somewhere or whether it's reflective of testing."

Hutchinson reported a 4.4% positivity rate for the 2,616 tests reported during the 24 hours preceding Thursday afternoon's briefing. The rate was higher than the 1% to 2% in recent weeks, but Hutchinson said it was still below the 10% the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set as the threshold for causing concern.

The net increase of seven hospitalizations reported Thursday raised that category to its highest level since May 5. The 86 hospitalizations were a 45.8% increase over the 59 reported May 12.

Yell, 33, Benton, 27, Washington, 26, and Union, 19, were the counties with the most new cases reported Thursday. One new case was reported in Garland County, but its seven day moving average of new cases fell below one for the first time since May 13.

"This is not a biological phenomena," Dr. Nate Smith, Health Department secretary, said. "We don't go from 80 to 226 overnight because of new infections. COVID-19 spreads fast but it doesn't spread that fast in a single day.

"It's largely a matter of increased testing. We have dramatically increased our testing since last month. In three weeks of this month we've tested almost as much as we did during the entire months of March and April. ... It's not all coming from one place. It's coming from different places."

Smith said Tuesday the state's contact tracing didn't show cases were increasing significantly because of businesses such as personal care services, restaurants, gyms and day cares reopening. He reiterated as much Thursday.

"So far we've not seen that," he said.

Hutchinson announced that limited contact community and school team sports such as baseball, softball, track, gymnastics and swimming can resume with restrictions June 1. The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro will reopen today with restrictions, he said.

Healthy Connections Community Health Network announced in a news release Thursday that its mobile testing bus will be at 3604 Central Ave. May 28 and 121 Cordoba Center Drive in Hot Springs Village May 29. The testing will be free and available for symptomatic and asymptomatic people. More information is available by calling 888-710-8220 or going to http://www.GetTestedFree.com.

Local on 05/22/2020

Print Headline: COVID-19 update: Largest single-day increase of new cases

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