Arkansas’ daily COVID-19 testing numbers dipped to 4,519 from Tuesday to Wednesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced in his regular coronavirus briefing at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville on Wednesday.

The state has struggled to test at high rates in July due to lower testing results from the six commercial labs responsible for completing coronavirus tests nationwide. While Arkansas easily reached its June testing goal of 120,000 tests, the state is unlikely to reach its July testing goal of 200,000 tests, with the governor saying yesterday he thought they would surpass 180,000 tests in July.

Despite the lower numbers, the governor said he has received assurances from the Trump Administration that testing in commercial labs would increase in August as the federal government is working to improve the supply chain of testing material to commercial labs.

Since Tuesday, the state has recorded 787 new cases of COVID-19, with 170 of the new cases in correctional facilities around the state. Arkansas now has recorded 40,968 cumulative cases of the virus, with 6,596 currently active in Arkansas communities.

Seven additional hospitalizations have also been recorded for a total of 508, the governor said. Six more deaths have also been recorded for a total of 434. The state had 750 recoveries on Wednesday for a total 33,938.

In Arkansas’ latest round of testing, the percent positivity rate was 8.2 percent. Faulkner County’s 14-day rolling average percent positivity rate was 8.4%.

Chico County led the way in new cases due to an outbreak at a correctional facility there, while Pulaski, Sebastian, Benton, Little River, Craighead, Mississippi and Washington Counties also recorded elevated cases of COVID-19.

The governor also shared additional statistics on the progress of the virus in Pope County. Pope County is part of the Department of Health’s northwest region, a region which has recorded the lowest growth rate of COVID-19 in the state. Despite those positive numbers, Pope County’s growth rate is at just over 20%, significantly above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines of 10 percent. Additionally, Pope County’s 14-day rolling average percent positivity rate is set at 17.1 percent. The governor said Pope County shouldn’t be satisfied with those numbers and emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant.

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