Coronavirus updates: 455 new cases in Arkansas, largest 1-day increase

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — As of Thursday, May 21, Arkansas officials reported 455 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 5,458 positive cases in the state.

Governor Hutchinson announced on Saturday an investigation is being conducted after an applicant accessed the unemployment system and reported a potential data exposure to officials. He was notified Friday night and the system was shut down immediately in order to prevent a data breach.

As of Monday, May 18 all retail stores in Arkansas are open for business, except bars.

Key facts to know:

  • 5,458 known positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas
  • 1,433 active cases
  • 110 reported deaths
  • 86 hospitalizations
  • 3,915 recoveries

Watch Thursday’s 1:30 p.m. press conference here:

Thursday, May 21

2:15 p.m.

In response to a question about reopening and the increase in new cases, Hutchinson said the state has been “measured about lifting” restrictions gradually. He said officials have been careful about staggering the reopening of certain activities and businesses.

Hutchinson said there is concern about the increase in cases, but he said we aren’t going to revert Phase One.

“We never did shelter in place, we’re not going to go back to it,” he said, “we’re not going to further shut down our economy.”

Hutchinson said he Arkansans will have to “learn to manage this economy.”

“We’re also going to have to stop the spread of the virus and you’ve got to do those two things simultaneously.”

1:50 p.m.

Dr. Smith broke down the 5,458 coronavirus cases in the state:

  • 455 new cases
  • 1,433 active cases
    • 542 in correctional facilities
    • 94 in nursing homes
    • 796 in community
  • 110 deaths
  • 3,915 recoveries

Dr. Nate Smith said 229 of the new positive cases are in correctional facilities and 226 were in the community.

Smith said this huge increase is “largely” due to increased testing in the state. He said in the first three weeks of May they have tested almost as many as the state did in March and April.

1:30 p.m.

Gov. Hutchinson announced the largest one-day increase in coronavirus cases in Arkansas. There were 455 new cases bringing the total to 5,458.

There were 3 new deaths, bringing the total to 110 deaths due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases per day

COVID-19 cases per day

Data source: Arkansas Department of Health


There have been a total of 99,276 COVID-19 tests given in Arkansas with 93,818 coming back negative.

Hutchinson also announced Thursday that high school and community team sports can resume on June 1 and release social distancing guidelines:

RELATED: Gov. Hutchinson announces limited-contact sports can resume June 1

Wednesday, May 20

2:45 p.m.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance website for those who are self-employed that was taken down due to the possibility of a security breach in the website’s code, is now back up. THV11 is working to see if the website is safe to use.

1:30 p.m.

Dr. Nate Smith with the Arkansas Department of Health provided an update to the numbers:

  • 5,003 total known cases
  • 1,044 active cases
    • 85 from nursing homes
    • 315 from prisons
    • 644 from community spread
  • 79 hospitalizations
  • 107 total deaths

Smith said there were a total of 4,396 tests on Tuesday with a 1.9% positivity rate among those tests. In May, 44,240 people have been tested.

Since the start, 95,010 people have been tested for coronavirus in Arkansas.

12:50 p.m.

The Arkansas Department of Health released a new COVID-19 case update site, which has reported 80 new positive cases. That brings the total number of known cases to 5,003.

There are currently 1,044 active cases in the state and 3,852 recoveries.

ADH is also reporting 5 new deaths, bringing the total to 107.

COVID-19 cases per day

COVID-19 cases per day

Data source: Arkansas Department of Health


RELATED: Here’s what Phase 1 means as Arkansas reopens

Tuesday, May 19

1:40 p.m.

Gov. Hutchinson aims to test every resident and staffer in Arkansas nursing homes starting June 1.  

Dr. Nate Smith breaks down the 4,923 COVID-19 cases in Arkansas:

  • 1,082 active cases
    • 83 in nursing homes
    • 369 in prisons 
    • 630 in community
  • 78 hospitalizations 
  • 14 on ventilators
  • 102 deaths 
  • 3,739 recoveries

1:30 p.m.

graph 5/19

graph 5/19

Data Source: Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansas Department of Health

In a press conference, Gov. Hutchinson announced 110 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 4,923 positive cases in the state. There were two additional deaths, bringing the total to 102.


Monday, May 18

1:40 p.m.

Gov. Hutchinson announces bars that are associated and in restaurant facilities can be opened effective May 19. Free standing bars can be opened May 26. 



Data source: Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansas Department of Health

Dr. Nate Smith breaks down the 4,813 COVID-19 cases in Arkansas:

  • 54 new positive cases 
  • 100 deaths 
  • 1,068 active cases
  • 3,645 recoveries 
  • 77 hospitalizations
  • 12 on ventilators  

Watch Monday’s press conference here:

1:30 p.m.

During a press conference at the Forrest City Civic Center, Gov. Hutchinson announced 54 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 4,813 positive cases in the state.

There were two additional deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 100.

9:20 a.m.

Last week, Gov. Hutchinson said it is not an encouraging sign for quick movement into the second phase of reopening the state after officials have seen large increase of positive cases over the past several days.

“When you see two days of increase in patients and two days of increase in hospitalization, that’ll cause you to pause and make sure to remind everyone to be careful,” he said.

RELATED: Arkansas ‘not prepared’ to move to Phase 2 of reopening, governor says

RELATED: Arkansas moms write children’s book to help kids understand COVID-19

RELATED: Arkansas nurse returns to work after battle with COVID-19

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