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ADH: Arkansans five-times more likely to come in contact with some with COVID-19 Fourth of July weekend

Arkansas' top health official is urging residents to be cautious when celebrating Independence Day with friends and family this weekend.

ARKANSAS, USA — Going into the Fourth of July weekend, Arkansas's top health officials says Arkansans are five-times more likely to come in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) than they were going into Memorial Day weekend. 

Dr. Nate Smith, Director and State Health Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), took time Friday during the governor's daily COVID-19 update to compare the current case count in the state to those of Memorial Day weekend. 

As of Friday, there are 6,177 active COVID-19 cases in Arkansas. The Friday before Memorial Day weekend, the ADH reported 1,658 active cases. 

Credit: KFSM

"Just looking at total active cases in the community, we have five-times as many now going into this holiday weekend as we did going into Memorial Day weekend," Dr. Smith said. "What that means is the same activities are going to have five-times the risks. You're five-times more likely to be in contact with someone whose an active case."

Dr. Smith highlighted four notes on what Arkansans should be cautious about this weekend during Fourth of July celebrations:

  • Indoor gatherings - Dr. Smith says outdoor gatherings are safer during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Limit the number of attendees - Dr. Smith says you should the number of people you come in contact with this weekend. 
  • Practice physical distancing - Dr. Smith recommends continuing to practice social distancing among groups of friends and family this weekend. 
  • Wear a mask - If you can not social distance, Dr. Smith recommends wearing a mask. 

"If we do these things, we can really limit the spread of COVID-19 and still enjoy our holiday, still enjoy other people, and celebrate the birth of this nation and our independence," Dr. Nate Smith said. 

Arkansas reported 547 new coronavirus cases Friday and set a record for new cases on Thursday with 878.

RELATED: Arkansas governor issues executive order allowing cities to require masks amid coronavirus case surge

RELATED: Coronavirus in Arkansas: Tracking COVID-19 Where You Live

Watch Live: Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state health officials provide an update on the response to COVID-19 in Arkansas.

Posted by 5NEWS on Friday, July 3, 2020