Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic become more widespread and deadly in recent weeks, but updated modeling from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) predicts the virus will kill more Arkansans and put more pressure on hospitals before it is brought under control.
The new UAMS modeling was posted Tuesday (Dec. 8), the same day that active confirmed and probable active COVID cases rose by 404 to 18,461, and cumulative known confirmed and probable cases rose by 2,283 to 174,325. Confirmed and probable deaths rose by 39 to 2,752.
“Taking all statistics presented in this report as a whole, we conclude COVID-19 in Arkansas is now in a phase of a community spread in which the virus is so prevalent it can no longer be associated with a person or a place. We do not yet know the consequences of the Thanksgiving weekend, but expect it will add to the current growth in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” UAMS noted in the report.
Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said Tuesday during Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s weekly COVID briefing that Arkansans should stay at home to help contain the virus.
“Non-essential travel is strongly discouraged,” he said.
The UAMS report also said recent COVID numbers show an “increasing pressure” on hospitals in the state, with the demand for critical care likely to overwhelm some facilities. Deaths are expected to rise to 3,623 by Jan. 31, and cumulative hospitalizations are projected to reach 12,536 by Jan. 31, up 3,602 from Nov. 30.
“Hospitals in larger urban areas, including UAMS, should expect not just pressure from COVID-19 cases originating in the cities where they are located, but also from transfers as regional and county hospitals are unable to meet the demand or provide care for patients with severe COVID-19 disease,” the report noted.
Long-term estimates in the updated report somewhat reverse a trend in which the number of cases was declining. The updated report shows significant projected increases in hospitalizations, active cases, and the need for ICU beds and ventilators. Following are the two long-term updated UAMS estimates.
• Mean-case estimates
March 24 (previously April 4)
Active cases: 40,348 (previously 32,435)
Hospitalizations: 2,663 (previously 778)
ICU beds: 932 (previously 272)
Ventilators: 326 (previously 95)
• Worst-case estimates
March 23 (previously March 31)
Active cases: 70,037 (previously 61,123)
Hospitalizations: 4,622 (previously 1,466)
ICU beds: 1,618 (previously 513)
Ventilators: 566 (previously 179)
“The long-term model’s projected peak increased by almost 20% from the previous report. … This suggests we could have large numbers of active COVID-19 infections with high rates of hospitalizations and deaths during the first six to seven months of 2021. We should expect high active infection rates until the COVID-19 vaccines are widely distributed,” according to the UAMS report.
COVID REPORT – Dec. 8
New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 145,612 known cumulative PCR cases, with 1,418 new community cases and 19 reported cases in correctional facilities
• 23,713 probable cases, up from 22,867 on Monday
• There are 14,258 active cases, up from 14,235 on Monday
• There were 9,332 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 3,981 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours.
• 2,521, up 36
• 231 probable COVID-related deaths, up 3
1,081, up 28
The top five counties with new known cases reported Tuesday were: Pulaski (230), Washington (175), Benton (151), Garland (118), and Faulkner (115). The counties accounted for 55.6% of the 1,418 new community cases.
As of Tuesday at 1 p.m., there were 15,019,092 U.S. cases and 284,887 deaths. Globally, there were 67,916,341 cases and 1,551,120 deaths.