White House COVID-19 report says Arkansas still in the red zone but seeing stability

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 492 views 

An updated report from the White House shows Arkansas still ranks high in new COVID-19 case growth, but Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday (Sept. 29) stressed the report also notes a “stability” in new cases and in the positivity rate.

The Arkansas Department of Health on Tuesday also reported that confirmed cases topped 80,000 and deaths topped 1,200.

According to the White House report posted Tuesday morning, Arkansas had 194 new cases per 100,000 population in the past week, compared to a national average of 93 per 100,000. The previous report had Arkansas at 204 cases per 100,000, with the national average at 86. The report also found that 68% of all counties in Arkansas have moderate or high levels of community transmission, with 28% having high levels of community transmission (red zone).

“Arkansas is in the red zone for cases, indicating 101 or more new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the 7th highest rate in the country. Arkansas is in the yellow zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 5.0% and 7.9%, with the 16th highest rate in the country,” noted Tuesday’s White House report on COVID in the states.

The report listed several measures to reduce case growth in Arkansas. They included:
• Target testing in areas with persistently high levels of transmission and rapidly increasing incidence in northeast and southeast Arkansas;
• Decrease introduction of COVID-19 in correctional facilities through on-site inspection of infection control practices in congregate settings;
• Decrease introduction of COVID-19 in nursing homes through on-site inspection of infection control practices at skilled nursing facilities; and
• In university settings, use wastewater surveillance on and off campus to identify areas with high viral load for targeted testing. Establish routine testing of student bodies to find cases early, prevent spread, and keep students on campus. Provide these data to students, faculty, parents, and community on public dashboard.

Gov. Hutchinson also said Tuesday the federal government is buying 150 million rapid testing kits, with Arkansas expected to receive 900,000. Of those, 59,000 are expected to ship within 10 days, the governor said.

The White House report noted the distribution of the testing kits and encouraged state officials to “develop a plan for weekly surveillance in critical populations to monitor the degree of community spread among K-12 teachers; staff working in nursing homes, assisted living, senior living facilities, and other congregate living settings including correctional facilities; and first responders. Historically Black Colleges and Universities will receive testing supplies this week.”

COVID REPORT – Sept. 29
New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 80,003 known cumulative cases, with 476 new community cases and 6 cases in correctional facilities
• 2,528 “probable” cases, up from 2,528 on Monday
• There are 6,529 active cases, down from 6,824 on Monday
• There were 5,394 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 1,167 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours with 217 positives.

Deaths
• 1,204, up 21, with nine related to nursing homes
• 146 “probable” COVID-related deaths, down 2 (two deaths were established as confirmed)

Hospitalizations
490, down 6

Ventilators
97, down 2

Recovered cases
72,265

The top five counties with new known cases reported Tuesday were: Washington (65), Pulaski (49), Sebastian (33), Benton (31), and Craighead (19). The counties accounted for 41.4% of the 476 new community cases.

As of Tuesday at 1 p.m., there were 7,165,067 U.S. cases and 205,476 deaths. Globally, there were 33,454,037 cases and 1,003,571 deaths.

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