Arkansas has 439 new cases of COVID-19, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday in his regular COVID-19 press briefing. The state has now had 24,253 cases of the virus.

Twelve additional hospitalizations were recorded since Sunday for a total of 337. Of the hospitalized patients, 81 are on ventilators, an increase of six since Sunday. Five additional deaths were recorded since Sunday for a total of 292.

The state completed 3,615 tests since Sunday, a lower number than in recent days. The governor attributed the decrease in testing numbers to the holiday weekend. In response to last month’s success in meeting the state’s testing goal, the governor increased the state’s July testing goal by 20,000, to 200,000. The governor said the state has finished 30,646 tests so far this month.

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said every county in the state has recorded at least one case of COVID-19. Heading into the holiday weekend, one county in the state remained as having had no cases of the virus.

Since Sunday, 701 recoveries from COVID-19 have been recorded. The state recorded more recoveries than new cases on Monday.

Washington and Pulaski Counties continued to lead the way in new cases, the governor said, while Yell and Benton Counties also recorded increased numbers of cases.

The governor announced the addition of 350 contact tracers through a $20 million contract with General Dynamics. Previously, the state had 320 contact tracers working at the Department of Health. The governor also said he would seek approval for another $20 million contract to employ another 350 contact tracers. The recently hired contact tracers will begin work this week.

The governor and Smith discussed a trend in increased numbers of cases in central Arkansas. While cases in the northwest part of the state, which had previously been a hot-spot have gone down, cases in the central region have increased in recent weeks.

Smith said the trend was concerning.

“I’m particularly concerned about central Arkansas,” Smith said.

Smith said that the increased population in central Arkansas could make controlling the spread of the virus difficult.

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