A record number of new known COVID-19 cases in Arkansas was reported Friday (Sept. 11), with almost 13% coming from colleges and universities, and some being delayed test results from a commercial lab.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson reported 1,107 new known cases during his daily COVID-19 briefing. He said 225 of the positives came from one commercial lab, with one-third of those results from the previous week. Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said 12.9% of the positives were from colleges and universities.
“And yes, for those of you that pay attention, that is a record number of new cases in a 24-hour period. … This is something that I actually expected, when you have a number of lower days, that you’re going to have a spike at one point. You don’t want it to be that high,” Gov. Hutchinson said during the briefing held Friday at the University of Arkansas Community College at Rich Mountain in Mena.
In response to a media question, Gov. Hutchinson said Friday’s numbers could reflect new cases resulting from Labor Day weekend activities. He said the Arkansas Department of Health will look more into the numbers, and new cases reported in coming days, to measure any Labor Day impact.
“That’s want we want to continue to look at in terms of what we see in the coming days, do a deeper dive on this information,” he said.
NEWS CASES, VENTILATOR USE DECLINE
Known COVID-19 cases in Arkansas totaled 67,911 on Friday, up from 66,804 on Thursday, with 7,801 test results from the previous 24 hours. Of the 1,107 new cases, 31 were from correctional facilities. There are 5,713 active cases. There were 459 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours with 78 positive results.
The number of deaths rose from 940 to 953. The number of COVID patients hospitalized in Arkansas was 392 on Friday, unchanged from Thursday. There are 76 patients on ventilators, down from 79 on Thursday. There are 61,245 cumulative recovered cases.
The top five counties with new known cases were: Pulaski (105), Washington (91), Craighead (61), Benton (52), and Sebastian (51). The counties accounted for 33.5% of the 1,076 new community cases.
As of Friday at 1 p.m., there were 6,417,186 U.S. cases and 192,381 deaths. Globally, there were 28,268,970 cases and 911,282 deaths.
Gov. Hutchinson and Romero said the decline in ventilator use at the same time case numbers are rising could be a result of younger people getting the virus. However, Romero noted results from a recent Harvard study of those between ages 18 and 34 which showed 21% required ICU care and 10% were put on ventilators.
“Being young in itself does not prevent you from having severe disease,” Romero said.
The study, conducted between April 1 and June 30 of 3,222 people between the ages 18-34 admitted to hospitals, also showed that 2.7% died.
Romero also said better therapeutics, such as steroids and convalescent plasma, and catching the disease earlier are helping reduce the number of COVID patients who need ventilators.