COVID-19 hospitalizations again set a record; UAMS modeling shows case decline in long-term estimates

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,775 views 

COVID-19 hospitalizations again set a new daily record on Tuesday (Oct. 27), with Gov. Asa Hutchinson saying he is concerned about critical care staffing. The problem could grow more acute if new University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) modeling proves accurate.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported an additional 952 confirmed and probable cases Tuesday, bringing the known cumulative total to 107,679. Confirmed and probable deaths rose by 24 to reach 1,857. Of the deaths, 16 were from nursing homes. Hospitalizations jumped by 27 to 676.

Gov. Hutchinson and Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said the state is not in danger of running out of hospital beds, but adequate support staff could be a problem.

“What we don’t want to have happen is that we have to start cutting back on elective procedures. These are very important to the economic health of the hospitals but are just as important to the health of our patients and our population,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

With a rise in the number of elderly being infected and hospitalized, Romero cautioned families about gathering for the holidays.

“I think it’s very important that we seriously consider whether it is appropriate to bring our families together during this time, especially with regard to the older individuals in our family,” Romero said.

Updated UAMS modeling suggests the state will add another 50,000 COVID cases by Dec. 15, but predicts a decline in active cases, hospitalizations and ICU care in its long-term estimates. Following are the two long-term estimates in the updated modeling with a comparison to the previous estimates.

• Mean-case estimates
April 3 (previously March 5)
Active cases: 40,085 (previously 52,087)
Hospitalizations: 962 (previously 1,250)
ICU beds: 336 (previously 437)
Ventilators: 117 (previously 152)

• Worst-case estimates
March 21 (previously Feb. 22)
Active cases: 62,930 (previously 80,753)
Hospitalizations: 1,510 (previously 1,938)
ICU beds: 528 (previously 678)
Ventilators: 184 (previously 237)

Following are other notes in the UAMS report.
• The mid-term model is forecasting an additional 50,000 cases by Dec 15. This number suggests during the six-week period, Arkansas will have approximately 70,000 active cases in the state. Given even a modest infection rate, it is easy to see, if nothing changes, how the state could reach approximately 40,000 active COVID-19 cases on April 3, 2021.

• The 15-day models continue to show Arkansans between 18 and 59 will have the highest number of COVID-19 cases. These two age groups will make up 70% of the COVID-19 caseload.

• The trend for hospitalizations by age has shifted. The model is showing the greatest growth in hospitalizations will be in adults 60 to 74. The previous report showed the highest number of hospitalizations were in adults 35 to 59, who fall to second place. The growth of hospitalizations in adults 50 to 74 may indicate more difficult and lengthier hospital stays.

• The long-term eSIR model suggests the pandemic will peak in late March or early April 2021, with between 20,000 and 63,000 active infections. Changes in the long-term model may be due to a slowing of new infections in the last month, with the epidemic spreading over more months with fewer cases at its peak. This projection may change as consistently higher numbers of cases are now being diagnosed.

• There has been a tendency recently for high rates of change to be concentrated in rural counties. This strongly suggests the pandemic is becoming sufficiently widespread in the state that population density makes little difference to spread. The virus is spreading through the population at a fairly consistent rate with spikes in infections in certain localities.

New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 100,061 known cumulative PCR cases, with 629 new community cases and 22 cases in correctional facilities
• 7,618 “probable” cases, up from 7,317 on Monday
• There are 7,796 active cases, down from 7,995 on Monday
• There were 7,000 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 1,795 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours with 312 positives.

• 1,696, up 20
• 161 “probable” COVID-related deaths, up 4

676, up 27

94, down 8

Recovered cases

The top five counties with new known cases reported Tuesday were: Pulaski (146), Benton (77), Washington (72), Craighead (66), and Saline (40). The counties accounted for 63.7% of the 629 new community cases.

As of Tuesday at 1 p.m., there were 8,735,312 U.S. cases and 226,171 deaths. Globally, there were 43,713,477 cases and 1,162,512 deaths.