LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas officials say they are working to double the size of its team of contact tracers — individuals who identify people who might have had contact with those infected by the coronavirus.
Little Rock television station KATV reported State Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said that the current team of about 240 people is “stretched” as hundreds of new cases are identified each day.
The increase in cases comes amid a surge in testing and increased spread of the virus among Latinos and younger people, state health officials said.
The contact tracing team will be expanded in the coming weeks and months, Smith said at a news conference Friday.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday he hoped the state’s growth in new coronavirus cases had begun to level off.
The total number of people who have tested positive for the virus rose to 9,101, health officials announced on Saturday. It was an increase of 450 from Friday. A total of 154 people have died, an increase of two from Friday.
The true number of coronavirus cases is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.