Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced a record number of new cases in a 24-hour period during his last daily briefing on Friday.
The state reported 1,107 new cases since Thursday.
“This is something I actually expected,” the governor said. “We see that pattern. We go for a number of days with lower numbers and then we see it shoot up. We don’t want to minimize it; we want to keep watching it and not overreact.”
The governor said that of the 1,107 new cases, 225 positives came from one lab and 1/3 of those (roughly 75) were from last week and were only reported to the Arkansas Department of Health in the previous 24 hours.
“You see that when dealing with commercial labs,” the governor said, reiterating the importance of partnering with Baptist Health to increase the testing capacity of the public health labs.
The governor said Friday the state had done 7,801 PCR tests and 459 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours. The 78 positive antigen tests are not included in the state’s cumulative totals until they are verified with a positive PCR test, per the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) guidelines.
The governor said it was possible the jump in cases was related to Labor Day activities and reminded Arkansans to use the methods we know to work to mitigate the spread of the virus – stay at least 6 feet away from people outside of your household, wear face masks over your mouths and noses when social distancing isn’t feasible and wash your hands with soap and water frequently throughout the day.
The governor will shift to weekly briefings or on an as-needed basis starting next week. He will have his weekly briefing next Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if the briefings would be on Tuesday each week.
In the past six months, 953 Arkansans have died as a result of COVID-19.