Arkansas School Districts In COVID-19 ‘Red Zones’ rises to 42; New Daily Cases Again Top 1,000

New daily COVID-19 cases again topped 1,000 in Thursday’s report, and the number of public school districts in “red zones” rose to 42, up from 26 a week earlier, according to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI).

The ACHI update posted Thursday noted that 42 school districts have had 50 or more new known COVID-19 infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, up from 26 a week earlier. The infections are among community residents living within the geographical boundaries of the school districts and are not specific to school employees and students. Known infections include confirmed cases and probable cases based on verbal reporting and antigen test results, as identified by the Department of Health (ADH).

“This virus is an invisible and serious threat, and we’re seeing its continued spread across our state,” ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said in a statement. “Infections in our communities threaten our schools, and there are more reports of young, healthy individuals who are impacted by COVID-19. This is the time to be smart and not afraid. Take precautions to safeguard your family. Wear a mask, stay distanced and wash your hands. These are the most effective tools we have to stop the spread of this virus at this time.”

The ADH report had 1,202 confirmed and antigen COVID-19 cases, pushing the state’s cumulative total to 102,798. The number of deaths rose by 21 for a total of 1,772 since the pandemic began in Arkansas.

In the search for something positive amid the rising numbers, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the number of new cases posted Thursday is fewer than reported Thursday of last week. He again urged Arkansans to do more to follow health guidelines.

“I continue to watch the week-to-week trends. Last Thursday, we reported 1,278 new cases. Today, there is a slight decrease to 1,202 new cases. If the trend continues similar to last week, then we will see around 1,000 new cases tomorrow. Let’s work to beat last week’s numbers as we are challenged in this pandemic. Let’s pull together; let’s protect each other and be safe. Earlier today, I spoke with Secretary Alex Azar of the Department of Health and Human Services on vaccine distribution plans. There is hope on the horizon,” Gov. Hutchinson said in a statement.

COVID REPORT – Oct. 22
New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests

  • 96,292 known cumulative PCR cases, with 803 new community cases and 90 cases in correctional facilities
  • 6,506 “probable” cases, up from 6,197 on Wednesday
  • There are 7,357 active cases, up from 7,272 on Wednesday
  • There were 10,039 test results provided in the previous 24 hours
  • There were 1,405 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours with 253 positives

Deaths
1,616, up 17
156 “probable” COVID-related deaths, up 4

Hospitalizations
612, down 24

Ventilators
96, down 3

Recovered cases
87,311

The top five counties with new known cases reported Thursday were: Pulaski (115), Benton (93), Craighead (70), Washington (50), and Garland (39). The counties accounted for 45.7% of the 803 new community cases.

As of Thursday at 1 p.m., there were 8,368,520 U.S. cases and 222,577 deaths. Globally, there were 41,477,320 cases and 1,134,090 deaths.