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

• 5,612 confirmed cases statewide, up 154 from Thursday.

• 103,047 tests reported, up 3,771 from Thursday.

• 5.4% rate of infection, down from 5.5% Thursday.

• 1,470 active cases, up 37 from Thursday.

• 4,029 recoveries, up 114 from Thursday.

• 113 deaths, up three from Thursday.

• 81 cases requiring hospitalization, down five from Thursday.

• 14 cases on a ventilator, no change from Thursday.

• 350 nursing home residents infected, up 20 from Thursday.

• 132 cases in Garland County, up one from Thursday.

• 3,672 tests reported for Garland County, up 47 from Thursday.

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

• 123 recoveries in Garland County, up two from Thursday.

• Eight active cases in Garland County, down one from Thursday.

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

Hutchinson highlighted the state's improved contact tracing capability, explaining that 61% of the more than 450 new cases reported Thursday had been traced to their source of infection. Dr. Nate Smith, Health Department secretary, said only two of the people contacted reported being at a restaurant recently.

The 154 new cases reported Friday followed Thursday's record number of new cases. Hutchinson said more than half of the 32 new cases reported Friday in Washington County were traced back to three households. Seven of the new cases reported in Benton County were linked to a poultry plant in Rogers, and the eight in Greene County were connected to a neighborhood clustering in Paragould.

"When you're dealing with this level of testing, I'm not overly concerned about the number of cases versus knowing where they are and that our hospitalizations and our recovered cases and our testing and our positivity rate is going in the right direction," Hutchinson said.

Of the 1,470 active cases reported Friday, 86 were in nursing homes, 510 in correctional settings and 874 in the community. The 20 new cases reported in nursing homes was one of the largest jumps since the pandemic began. The state said many of those were from a long term care facility in Union County.

The 135 new community cases reported Friday raised the rolling seven-day average for a sixth-straight day, bumping it from 90.43 to 98.43. It was the 11th day of increases during a 12-day period. The average has doubled since May 10.

The 154 total cases reported Friday, which included 19 from correctional settings, raised the moving seven-day average to 157, an increase of one from Thursday.

The one new case reported in Garland County kept its rolling seven-day average below one for a second-straight day.

Hutchinson said the state's strategy has shifted from increasing restrictions to relaxing them in a way that allows the phased reopening of the economy to continue in a safe manner.

"I would not try to put it in the fall," he said of when the second phase of easing restrictions on businesses and social activities can begin. "We hope to get there much sooner than that. We're anxious to get there. Obviously, with the uptick we've seen, particularly (Thursday), we're not thinking about Phase 2 right now in the very short term.

" ... The positivity rate is what I look at the most, and that's such a steady number for us. As long as that's going in the right direction than I think we can look at that down the road, but we're probably not there yet."

Local on 05/23/2020

Print Headline: COVID-19 update: New cases fall after record high day

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