Virus claims 24th Carroll County victim
By Scott Loftis
Another Carroll County resident has died from COVID-19 while the county has had 154 new cases of the virus in the past week, according to the Arkansas Department of Heath.
The ADH website said there had been a total of 1,583 confirmed cases of the virus in Carroll County as of Tuesday morning, as well as 177 probable cases. Those numbers represent an increase of 123 confirmed and 31 probable cases in one week since Tuesday, Dec. 8.
The health department says 24 Carroll County residents have died from the virus.
More than one-fourth — 446 — of the county’s 1,760 cumulative cases have been reported in the past four weeks. That includes 358 confirmed cases based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and 88 probable cases based on less sensitive antigen testing since Nov. 24. The ADH has reported three deaths among Carroll County residents in the past four weeks.
The ADH reported 172 active confirmed and 40 active probable cases of the virus in Carroll County as of Tuesday morning — a net increase of nine active cases from the previous week.
Statewide, the increase in the number of new cases continued upward over the past week. As of Tuesday morning, the ADH reported a cumulative total of 187,057 confirmed and probable cases — an increase of 15,015 from a week earlier. After averaging 1,819 new cases a day from Dec. 1 to Dec. 7, the state averaged 2,145 new cases per day for the past week. The state reached another grim milestone on Friday, Dec. 11, when the health department reported 55 deaths from the virus in the previous 24 hours. That is the state’s highest single-day death count since the pandemic began in mid-March.
Altogether, the ADH says 2,990 Arkansans have died from the virus, including 277 in the past week.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressed Arkansas residents in a speech broadcast across various media outlets Thursday night, Dec. 10.
“Tonight, Arkansas is at another critical moment in this struggle to turn the tide of the pandemic,” Hutchinson said. “Today, we are two weeks past Thanksgiving, and we are seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. This spike in cases was predicted by our health officials and is the result of everything we did over Thanksgiving — even with the best of intentions. We are also two weeks away from Christmas, and unless we take the right precautions, science tells us the cases will continue to rapidly accelerate. We do not want to have a triple surge.”
Still, Hutchinson said he did not want to place more stringent restrictions on businesses or issue a directive for Arkansans to shelter in place.
“This is not my vision of a good Christmas or a good way to start the New Year,” he said. “And most importantly, there are better solutions.”
Hutchinson urged Arkansas residents to take precautions against contracting or spreading the virus.
“The real solution to getting life back to normal is people being self-disciplined by wearing a mask, socially distancing, and limiting our indoor gatherings to those we know are safe,” he said. “Those are the steps that will make a difference versus putting additional restrictions on businesses that are already complying with all the health guidance and when there are no cases coming from a specific place.”
At his weekly COVID-19 update Tuesday in Little Rock, Hutchinson said the state has received its first shipment of vaccine for the virus and the first Arkansan was vaccinated Monday afternoon.