Governor Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday that Arkansas now has 3,568 positive COVID-19 cases, with 20 of those additional cases coming from the Forrest City Federal Correctional Institute. Additionally, the state now has 85 total deaths, an increase of two from yesterday. One of those deaths was an inmate from the Cummins Prison unit in Grady.
There have now been 6 deaths from the Cummins Unit.
Additionally, there have been 2,109 recoveries in the state out of the 3,568 cases.
With additional testing taking place over the past given days Hutchinson said that people in 18-24 and 65+ age groups have had the highest rate of positive cases.
Hutchinson also said that the CDC is providing 90,000 test kits in the month of May to the state of Arkansas. He said the state plans to use those kits to conduct 60,000 tests this month, which would double the amount conducted since the outbreak began. About 58,700 tests have been administered so far, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
The first shipment of test kits is expected to arrive this week. Anyone who has symptoms of the virus or who may have been exposed to the virus is encouraged to get tested.
Additionally, State Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said he’s concerned about a rise in coronavirus cases in Texarkana, Jonesboro, West Memphis and Forrest City. Smith said those areas were “emerging hot spots” that will be targeted for increased testing.
“We want to make sure we’re increasing our testing where it’s most needed,” Smith said.
Hutchinson also announced Wednesday that he’d signed an executive order waiving certain state fees on oil and gas companies in south Arkansas. The industry has seen demand plummet during the pandemic.