Virus claims 4 more in county: Carroll County's death toll stands at 19
By Scott Loftis
The Arkansas Department of Health reported that 19 Carroll County residents had died from COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon, an increase of four in the past week.
The ADH on Tuesday reported one additional death of a resident at Autumn Hill Therapy and Living Center in Berryville, bringing the total number of resident deaths at the facility to nine.
Over the past two weeks, seven new deaths have been reported in the county. It’s not clear when the deaths at Autumn Hill occurred or if they are all included in the 19 Carroll County deaths currently being reported by the health department.
An Autumn Hill administrator previously said by email that the facility first learned of a “presumptive positive case” during routine weekly testing on Monday, Sept. 28.
Altogether, there have been 1,009 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county, according to ADH, with another 47 probable cases. As of Tuesday afternoon, the health department said there were 61 active confirmed cases in the county with eight active probable cases.
Confirmed cases are identified through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing while probable cases are based on less sensitive antigen testing.
Statewide, a total of 114,519 cases have been reported — 105,223 confirmed through PCR testing and another 9,296 cases based on antigen testing.
Arkansas has had a total of 1,833 confirmed deaths from the virus, with 170 probable COVID-19 deaths — pushing the state’s total death count to 2,003.
The ADH reported 33 new deaths on Sunday, the state’s highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began in mid-March.
A total of 667 Arkansans were reportedly hospitalized as of Tuesday afternoon, 21 fewer than the record high of 688 reported Monday.
During his weekly COVID update on Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson discussed the state’s “winter strategy” to slow the spread of the virus.
“It’s not necessarily complicated as much as it is a point of emphasis, understanding it, and following through with it,” Hutchinson said. “We can reduce the COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Arkansas by implementing a layered strategy. That is, as we mitigate the risk by implementing each part of the strategy, we realize that every layer builds upon the other layers and it takes us all working together to be successful.”
Hutchinson said mitigating the spread of the virus begins with individual responsibility to maintain social distance and avoid crowds, abide by the state’s mask mandate and get a flu shot.
The state’s winter strategy also includes a focus on testing, contact tracing and quarantining and compliance checks. Hutchinson said the state will continue a marketing campaign to remind people of the importance of each layer of the strategy and continue working on a vaccine distribution plan.
Hutchinson displayed a graphic indicating that COVID-19 is now the third-leading cause of death in Arkansas, behind only cancer and heart attacks.
“It is a deadly virus that takes people’s lives,” he said. “We want to make sure everybody understands the seriousness of it.”