Weekly COVID-19 Update: 706 new cases today

The following statistics were shared at the governor’s weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 82,755 total cases, up 706 from Monday.
  • 80,003 total confirmed cases, up 482 from Monday. 
  • 2,752 total probable cases, up 224 from Monday.
  • 6,960 total active cases, down 182 from Monday.
  • 6,529 active confirmed cases, down 295 from Monday.
  • 72,265 recoveries, up 756 from Monday.
  • 1,204 total deaths, up 21 from Monday.
  • 146 probable deaths, no change from Monday.
  • 490 cases requiring hospitalization, down six from Monday.
  • 97 cases requiring a ventilator, down two from Monday. 
  • 1,930 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 12 from Monday.
  • 168 active cases in Garland County, down 14 from Monday.
  • 1,704 recoveries in Garland County, up 24 from Monday.
  • 53 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of positive PCR tests added in Arkansas was 482, with 476 from the community and six from correctional facilities. There were 217 positive antigen results from a total of 1,167 antigen tests in the past 24 hours. The number of PCR tests completed in the past 24 hours was 5,394. 

The counties with the highest number of new cases in the past 24 hours include Washington with 65, Pulaski with 47, Sebastian with 33 and Benton with 31.

Hutchinson began the weekly update by recognizing the life, the contributions and the service of Superintendent Jody Jenkins, of Atkins, who passed away this morning from COVID-related complications.

Regarding the White House Task Force weekly state report on Arkansas, Hutchinson said that although the state is still in the red zone for cases, “the good news” is that Arkansas is in the yellow zone for positivity rate. He quoted the report: “Arkansas has seen stability in new cases and stability in test positivity over the last week.” He said that although the task force noted stability, he said the case numbers are too high and above the national average.

He credited federal assistance with the state’s improved testing capacity. He said that of the 150,000,000 rapid-test kits recently obtained by the federal government, 900,000 of the kits will be provided to Arkansas with 59,000 coming within the next 10 days. The Governor’s Office and ADH will be developing a plan to utilize these tests throughout the state. 

Secretary of Education Johnny Key reported that as of noon today, 36 schools are currently are under some modification of their operations and 93 have inactive modifications (have returned to on-site instruction). Key said that there was an increase in school modifications last week over previous weeks, with a total of 26. He and Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero theorized this is a reflection of Labor Day weekend, and they hope to see the number of modifications decline. Key said the Arkansas Department of Education is working with districts to relieve stress on teachers with the balancing of virtual and on-site instruction. 

Hutchinson shared numbers comparing active cases in K-12 and colleges/universities between the week beginning on Sept. 21 versus the week beginning on Sept. 28. There were 717 in K-12 and 490 in colleges/universities for the Sept. 28 week, compared to higher numbers of 748 in K-12 and 701 in colleges/universities from the previous Sept. 21 week. “Actions make a difference, and the clear steps that have been made, at the college level particularly, have reduced active cases,” he said. “Students have responded with more discipline with understanding what’s at risk.”

A chart of the growth rate of new COVID-19 cases by age group from September 20-26 showed the 65-and-older group with the highest percentage at 8.2%, followed by the 18-24 and 45-64 groups, both at 6.5%. The growth rate by public health region during that same time period has the Northeast with 9.4%, Southeast with 7.1%, Central with 6.9%. Southwest with 5.2% and Northwest with 5%.

Hutchinson said that the state reached the goal of 1 million PCR tests, with the current total being 1,002,538. He said they are going to work toward making sure at least 6% of the state can be tested every month. The state has also more than doubled the number of antigen tests for the month, with a current total of 21,214 completed.

Romero reminded everyone that wearing face masks correctly is important, meaning it should cover the nose and the mouth. 

9-29-20 ADH daily graphic