Governor's weekly update: Cases trending downward
(1/19/21) Governor’s weekly COVID update: Trending downward after holiday surge
The following statistics were shared at the governor’s weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:
- 273,594 total cases, up 1,331 from Monday.
- 20,940 total active cases, up 1,854 from Monday.
- 4,386 total deaths, up 43 from Monday.
- 1,265 cases requiring hospitalization, up two from Monday.
- 209 cases requiring a ventilator, down seven from Monday.
- 7,574 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 22 from Monday.
- 671 active cases in Garland County, down 96 from Monday.
- 6,714 recoveries in Garland County, up 116 from Monday.
- 187 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.
In the past 24 hours, the number of positive PCR tests added in Arkansas was 841, with 840 from the community and one from correctional facilities. There were 490 positive antigen results from a total of 2,281 antigen tests in the past 24 hours. The number of PCR tests received in the past 24 hours was 6,074.
Hutchinson began the press conference with a case report, which highlighted downward trends in several categories of COVID-19 statistics for the state, including the seven-day rolling average of new cases, hospitalizations, active cases and rate of positivity. He said there has been a 25% decline in new case growth over the past two weeks. Despite the optimistic news, Hutchinson warned that against another instance of a surge following a dip in new cases. “We still have the virus in every part of the state. Our new cases are still significantly high, even though they are less than they were two weeks ago,” he said. “And we are going to continue to have challenges until our vaccination is permeating our society and population here in Arkansas.”
In his vaccine report, Hutchinson shared that the state received an additional 18,600 vaccine doses for a cumulative total of 293,600. Of those, there have been a total of 147,609 doses administered, or 50.3% of the total. There have been 6,626 doses given at long-term care facilities, which is 8.2% of the 80,700 allocated doses. Hutchinson said the long-term care facility category is being managed at the federal level and is lagging behind, but that he has been assured it will be completed by the end of the month.
Hutchinson said the number one question people have right now is when and where can they get vaccinated. He said for everyone, particularly those in the 70-and-older age category who have been given the go-ahead to receive the vaccine, to visit the ADH website, click on the COVID-19 vaccine information header, then find the listing/map of pharmacies that are in charge of distributing vaccines.
Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero gave an update on the highly-contagious COVID-19 variant that is spreading across the U.S. He said it is normal for a virus like COVID-19 to generate variants. This variant has been reported in 10 states. ADH is looking for this variant in the state, and it can be detected with the diagnostic tests being used. Romero said that specimens have been sent to the CDC, but there have yet to be a positive result. The CDC predicts that by March, this variant will be the predominant virus in the U.S. Romero said it is not a question of if, but when will it reach Arkansas. It is 50-70% more transmissible than the current virus in our environment. The mitigation efforts of the “three W’s” – wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance – will also inhibit the spread of this variant. He said it appears the current vaccines are showing to be active against this variant of the virus.
Secretary of Education Johnny Key announced the rollout of new resource ADE is providing to schools and communities across Arkansas relating to support services that are needed to help students be successful, particularly those students using remote learning. The Arkansas Department of Education collaborated with Department of Human Services for a statewide community resources portal at https://adedata.arkansas.gov/scr. He said that when this is fully built out, all Arkansas counties will be represented with a wide range of support service information, including food security, clothing closets, physical/mental health and other types of support. It will also continue to grow, as community organizations will be able to submit information about available services.
With regards to COVID emergency leave, Kee said that $4.6 million remain outstanding in additional claims after funds from the CARES Act were expended. However, the new round of federal funding can be used to offset those outstanding claims. School districts are encouraged to continue some type of COVID emergency leave using funds they have received.