Many parts of society are returning to a pre-COVID-19 pandemic normal, but a recent University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) report suggests the pandemic isn’t finished and will continue to result in hospitalizations and deaths.
The UAMS COVID model projections published March 22 forecast 17,788 new cases by April 12, with new daily cases expected to average 593 per day. The model also shows Arkansans between ages 35 and 59 are likely to have the highest number of COVID diagnoses, which is forecast to increase by 5,577 cumulative cases by April 12.
Following are other summary points from the report.
• The models forecast 1,393 new COVID hospitalizations by April 12, averaging 46 per day.
• The 30-day model is forecasting an average of 14 COVID deaths per day for the next two weeks, adding 661 new deaths over the next 30 days, averaging 22 per day.
• The models show the number of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID in the next 30 days, compared to one month ago, will continue to be flat.
• Hospitalizations will be level over the next month. The models forecast the greatest number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 will be adults 60 to 74, closely followed by adults 35 to 59.
The report authors noted that state residents should be ready to return to “alert status” if the numbers begin to surge again.
“Everyone in Arkansas is hoping and to some extent acting like the pandemic is over. Unfortunately, it is not. Arkansans do not need to be at red alert all the time., But, we must be prepared to go back on alert status when circumstances warrant. In the next two to three months, we may need to do so again. The state has had 11,000 COVID deaths in two years. Arkansans should resolve to not add another five to six thousand COVID-19 deaths in the coming year,” noted the report authors.
The recent weekly COVID report – posted March 22 – from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) shows 4,632 new known COVID cases compared with the previous week, bringing the cumulative total to 831,698. Known active cases fell from the previous week by 311 to 1,499, and known deaths rose by 156 to a cumulative 11,127. Hospitalizations fell in the week by 77 to 139, and patients on ventilators fell by three to 36.
ADH data also shows that active cases reached a record of 102,576 on Jan. 22, 2022, and the highest number of daily reported cases was 14,494 on Jan. 19, 2022. The record for deaths reported in one day was 66 on Dec. 29, 2020.