County sees 74th COVID-related death
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week announced protocol changes for schools in the state in regard to close-contact definitions and quarantines for staff and students.
The new protocols come as the number of vaccinated persons continues to rise and the number of active cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas continues to drop.
“Our COVID numbers continue to move in the right direction,” Hutchinson said in a Twitter post on Sunday. “Last year, we saw a large increase in cases and hospitalizations in the winter months. Let’s get vaccinated so we can avoid that as we get closer to winter.”
The new K-12 protocols Hutchinson announced update the definition of a close contact in a school setting from within 6 feet for 15 minutes of a case while infectious to within 3 feet for 15 minutes, and to allow test-to-stay protocols to apply to extracurricular activities instead of only applying to the school day.
These changes will affect quarantine protocols for school districts.
Vaccination eliminates the need for quarantine, and if both the case and the contact are masked, there is no need for quarantine.
In Carroll County, the only school district requiring students and staff to wear masks is Eureka Springs. Masks are encouraged at both Berryville and Green Forest, but not required.
The number of active cases in the state fell 1,040 to 4,912 in the past week and by more than 10,000 since Sept. 22.
The number of Arkansans who have died from complications attributed to the novel coronavirus increased by 90 since last week and 160 in the past two weeks, bringing the statewide death toll to 8,292 on Tuesday.
In Carroll County, the death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by one to 74. Twenty-seven of the local deaths have been reported since late July.
Tuesday’s report also indicated a continuing drop in COVID-positive hospital admissions — 395, down 82 from last week’s 477 and 150 fewer than two weeks ago — and a decrease in ICU admissions at 178, down from 228. More than 63 percent of those in ICU beds — 113 — have been placed on ventilators.
Since Feb. 1, more than 90 percent of those hospitalized in the state — along with a similar percentage of those whose deaths were attributed to the virus since that time — were not vaccinated.
Since the pandemic began, hospitalizations related to the virus have included 906 children under the age of 18, an increase of nine since last week, including 116 ICU admissions. As of Tuesday, 1,191 of the state’s active cases — nearly 25 percent — were among children under the age of 18. More than 96 percent of those pediatric cases were among children 12-18 who were not vaccinated against the virus.
According to data distributed by the Arkansas Health Department on Tuesday, the state saw an increase of 3,308 new cases of the novel coronavirus — down slightly from the 3,289 new cases reported the previous week — since Oct. 19, bringing the total to 510,406 cases. That number includes 497,104 cases described as “recoveries.”
The age group with the most active cases is 25-34 year-olds with 765, followed by 65-and-over with 724 and 35-44 with 713.
In Carroll County, the number of active cases reported Tuesday was 49, up from 41 last week. The total number of reported cases increased by 37 since last week, rising to 4,294 with 4,171 reported recoveries.
According to Tuesday’s state health department numbers, 1,386,350 Arkansans 12 and older have been fully vaccinated against the virus — an increase of 12,655 in the past week — while an additional 283,807 have been partially vaccinated. Combined, those numbers account for approximately 65.3 percent of eligible Arkansans. In addition, 111,229 vaccinated individuals have already received their third-dose booster.
In Carroll County, the ADH reported Tuesday that an additional 382 doses of the various vaccines — up from 285 the week before — were administered in the past week, bringing the total to 23,076 and raising the percentage of county residents aged 12 and up who are fully vaccinated against the virus to 44.8 percent. An additional 7.9 percent have been partially immunized.