Record COVID-19 cases reported; number of ‘red zone’ school districts double

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 2,305 views 

If you need a reminder that COVID-19 is still a serious threat, welcome to Thursday. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) reported a record number of new cases, and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) said “red zone” school districts have doubled.

The Thursday (Oct. 15) report from ACHI found that 26 school districts have had 50 or more new known COVID-19 infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, up from 13 a week earlier.

District infections are among all people living within the geographical boundaries of the school district and are not necessarily among school employees and students. Known infections include confirmed cases and probable cases based on verbal reporting and antigen test results as reported by the ADH.

“The doubling of the number of school districts in the red zone in one week is a cause for concern,” ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said in a statement. “Most of the districts entering the red zone this week are in rural areas, which shows that COVID-19 is affecting all parts of the state. Residents of these districts should be especially careful to take precautions against further spread: Maintain six feet of distance from people who are not members of your household and wear a mask when out in public.”

The 26 districts in the red zone can be found at this link.

Thursday’s ADH report noted 1,278 new known COVID cumulative cases, with 1,068 of those being positives from PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests. Total cumulative cases reached 96,524, which includes positives from PCR tests and antigen tests.

“I expected the number of new cases to increase as we enter the last part of the week. This has been the pattern, but the cases reported today set a new record high. Our increased testing efforts allow us to find cases already present and react to them. Each one of us must be proactive in our individual efforts to help slow the spread of this virus,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said of Thursday’s ADH report.

COVID REPORT – Oct. 15
New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 91,303 known cumulative cases, with 989 new community cases and 79 cases in correctional facilities
• 5,221 “probable” cases, up from 5,011 on Wednesday
• There are 7,272 active cases, up from 6,924 on Wednesday
• There were 10,786 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
There were 1,094 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours with 219 positives.

Deaths
• 1,494, up 10
• 151 “probable” COVID-related deaths, up 1

Hospitalizations
594, up 7

Ventilators
106, down 7

Recovered cases
82,529

The top five counties with new known cases reported Thursday were: Pulaski (83), Benton (76), Washington (65), Craighead (61), and Sebastian (55). The counties accounted for 34.4% of the 989 new community cases.

As of Thursday at 1 p.m., there were 7,942,744 U.S. cases and 217,323 deaths. Globally, there were 38,701,030 cases and 1,094,591 deaths.

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