COVID-19 cases hit new daily record; Gov. Hutchinson seeks FEMA help for new bed space

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,085 views 

New known COVID-19 cases again set a new daily record on Thursday (Dec. 3), and the head of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences said the system is looking for extra morgue space and has asked system “leadership” to be ready to work during the holidays.

UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson tweeted Thursday he is concerned Arkansas hospitals may soon exhaust the ability of “health care providers to care for those of us who are acutely ill in our state, whether they are victims of COVID-19 or critical illnesses like diabetes and heart disease that existed before COVID-19 affected our communities.”

“Although the health care system in the state of Arkansas is stressed right now, it is holding up, and additional surge capacity exists. But that capacity is not infinite. Every day we become more and more concerned about our ability to manage what lies ahead,” Patterson noted.

Part of managing what lies ahead may include the requested addition of 10 beds from the McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during a Thursday press conference he requested 10 beds – five ICU beds and five medical surgical beds – and funding support through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He said approval is expected within the next 24 hours, and FEMA would pick up 75% of the estimated $1.9 million for use of the beds.

Thursday’s Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) report showed that known confirmed and probable cases rose by 2,789 – a new daily record – to 164,310, and total confirmed and probable deaths rose by 33 to 2,555. Fortunately, hospitalizations fell from a Wednesday record of 1,088 to 1,072 on Thursday. Confirmed and probable active COVID cases rose by 731 to 17,109.

Of Thursday’s high COVID numbers, Gov. Hutchinson said he typically reports on the around 10 counties that have 20 cases or more. In Thursday’s report there were 32 counties with more than 20 new cases.

“This is a message to everyone that wherever you are in the state of Arkansas, that there are increased number of COVID cases, an increased level of spread and you have to protect yourself, you have to wear your mask and keep the social distance. And if you can avoid a social gathering over 10, that’s something you should do,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 142,722 known cumulative PCR cases, with 1,915 new community cases and 102 reported cases in correctional facilities
• 21,588 probable cases, up from 20,816 on Wednesday
• There are 12,822 active cases, up from 12,399 on Wednesday
• There were 13,228 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 2,945 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours with 564 positives.

• 2,343, up 31
• 212 probable COVID-related deaths, up 2

1,072, down 16

190, up 4

Recovered cases

The top five counties with new known cases reported Thursday were: Washington (267), Benton (257), Pulaski (223), Sebastian (115), and Craighead (106). The counties accounted for 50.5% of the 1,915 new community cases.

As of Thursday at 2:30 p.m., there were 14,012,378 U.S. cases and 274,648 deaths. Globally, there were 64,918,435 cases and 1,501,076 deaths.