By Ray King

Despite announcing last week that his daily COVID-19 press briefings would be switching to a once-weekly press briefing, Governor Asa Hutchinson held them two days in a row, on Tuesday from Little Rock and Wednesday from Batesvlle.

The Governor said that while he had planned to do the briefings weekly, he had already committed to going to Batesville and holding one and kept his commitment.

Over the past 24 hours, an additional 606 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 70,125 with another 1,372 cases listed as possible as a result of antigen tests.

State Health Officer Dr. Jose Romero said there are 5,572 active cases and another 64,145 people have recovered. Seven counties reported over 20 cases, led by Washington County with 65, followed by Pulaski County with 58 and Benton County with 37. Faulkner County reported 31, Jefferson County 29, Miller County 21 and Craighead County 20.

An additional seven deaths were reported bringing the state’s total to 1,003 and hospitalizations declined by two.

In his opening remarks, the Governor talked about modeling done by UAMS and said it offered both short-term and long-term predictions on where the state is going in terms of dealing with COVID-19. He said he went back and looked at predictions UAMS made on June 19 showing that Arkansas would have 18,000 new cases of COVID-19 each day.

“We did not have that but this modeling should serve as a wake-up call on how serious this is,” Hutchinson said.

UAMS predicted there would be 980 new deaths and Hutchinson said he thinks about the lives lost and how important it is to try and curb the spread of the virus by wearing a mask and social distancing.