State reports 3 more local deaths; virus claims life of Berryville teacher

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Three more Carroll County residents have died from complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Arkansas Department of Health, and Berryville School District superintendent Owen Powell confirmed Monday that a teacher in the district has died.

According to numbers released Tuesday morning by the Arkansas Department of Health, the total number of deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus in the county now stands at 33. Statewide, the death toll has risen to 4,081.

It’s unclear if the 33 Carroll County deaths reported by the health department include the Berryville teacher.

“Unfortunately, it’s true,” Powell said by text message when asked about the teacher’s death. “We’re all hurting right now.”

The additional deaths came a week after the ADH reported a substantial increase in the number of hospitalizations and patients requiring intensive care in the state.

“We had a couple of milestones [on Jan. 4] with nearly 1,500 COVID-19 positive patients who were in-patient in the state of Arkansas,” said Dr. Cam Patterson, a member of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19 winter task force and chancellor at University of Arkansas-Medical Sciences, speaking during Hutchinson’s weekly news conference on Jan. 5. “We’ve exceeded that again today, indicating that the upward trajectory of the virus continues to impact the healthcare systems here in the state of Arkansas.”

On Tuesday morning, the state health department reported 1,371 COVID-positive patients in hospitals across the state, with 460 requiring intensive care. Of those, 268 were on ventilators.

Regionally, hospitalizations remain low, with 152 patients hospitalized in northwest Arkansas, including 65 in intensive care. Nearly 15 percent of the statewide total of patients on ventilators — 40 — are in the northwest region.

“We are stressed, we are strained, but the system is not breaking at the present moment,” Patterson said, speaking for hospitals across the state. “We do have finite resources and so we do need to be careful as to how we manage those resources, and we need to continue to do everything that we can as a state to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19 while we wait for the effects of the vaccine to impact us in a positive manner.”

Tuesday morning’s report from the ADH showed 2,287 total cases of COVID-19 in Carroll County — an increase of 154 in the past seven days — including 1,974 lab-confirmed and 2,085 classified as “recovered,” with 169 cases listed as active.

Statewide, the totals paint a similar picture. Tuesday morning’s report showed a total of 256,344 cases, an increase of 21,563 since last week, and an additional 18,802 recoveries for a total of 226,700.

“For right now, the system is holding,” Patterson said. “I do anticipate, though, that the strain on the healthcare system will continue to increase on a week-by-week basis as the number of cases continues to increase.”

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