LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Arkansas has met its testing goal for the month of May.
At the beginning of the month, Governor Asa Hutchinson set a 60,000 test push and with just a few days to spare, we have reached 61,000.
On Wednesday, health officials said that they have not seen much correlation between new cases in the state and businesses that are reopening.
Ninety-seven new cases were reported Wednesday.
That is lower than the numbers we have seen in the last few days.
Two of those cases are in prison, while the rest were in the community.
Over 1,700 of the state’s total number of cases is active.
Wednesday, Dr. Smith expressed concern that 20% of those cases are in the Latino community.
The state’s death toll from the virus is also increasing. It has increased by one from Tuesday, bringing the total to 120 deaths.
Governor Hutchinson was in Jonesboro Wednesday.
He pointed out a specific age group.
The governor was in Jonesboro highlighting the COVID-19 impact in the northeast part of the state.
Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said that part of the state is doing very well and he’d like to bottle whatever they are doing there and spread it around.
The governor, while still pleased with the slow opening of things statewide, pointed to an age group that has, for the most part, seemed to be least impacted.
We have talked about ages 65 and older and then an uptick for those in their 40s and 50s.
The governor has seen the numbers for children ages zero to 17, and it’s not what he’d like to see at all.
“The growth rate between the ages of zero and 17 that thinks they are invincible from the virus, invincible from any harm in life that is typical of that age group,” the governor said. “Cases grew from 190 on May 17 to 278, a 46% increase in the zero to 17 age group. Eighteen to 24, 65 and over grew 15 percent. So this is just a reminder the virus impacts all age groups.”
The governor also spoke on the other end of the issue and that is the economy.
He said in essence that as the state opens, and as we do it in a smart way, he understands many have been unemployed and assistance has been made available.
He’s reminding people that it’s vital we go back to work when an opportunity comes.