652 news statewide cases; 19 in Garland County

The following statistics were shared Thursday, August 13,8-13-20 ADH daily graphic at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 51,766 total confirmed cases, up 652 from 50,411 on Wednesday. 
  • 6,582 active cases, down 143 from Wednesday.
  • 44,602 recoveries, up 786 from Wednesday.
  • 582 deaths, up nine from Wednesday (two were late reports).
  • 473 cases requiring hospitalization, down 13 from Wednesday.
  • 112 cases requiring a ventilator, down one from Wednesday.  
  • 1,134 cumulative cases in Garland County up 19 from Wednesday.  
  • 244 active cases in Garland County, no change from Wednesday.   
  • 873 recoveries in Garland County, up 19 from Wednesday. 
  • 17 deaths in Garland County, no change from Wednesday.  

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases in Arkansas was 652, with 639 from the community and 13 from correctional facilities. Counties with highest number of new cases in the past 24 hours included Pulaski with 88, Sebastian with 44, Crittenden with 37, Benton with 34 and Jefferson with 26. Garland County had 19 new cases reported today.

The number of tests completed in the past 24 hours was 5,192.

In terms of the state’s 7-day rolling average trending downward, Hutchinson said, “We know that there’s nothing guaranteed. Just because you start a trend, does not mean that trend is going to continue, but it is a good place to start. And it all depends upon individual actions of people in Arkansas. That’s really what it depends upon, in addition to the contact tracing and the results of the work of the Department of Health.”

The 7-day rolling average for the positivity rate is still above the 10% mark, to which the governor said, “The work that we need to do is to continue to get the positivity rate down because that really is the indicator of what’s happening in our communities and how we’re testing and the results of that.”

Hutchinson announced that an informative document – The Arkansas Ready to Learn Healthy School Guide – is being published online today at http://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/. This guide came about from “a partnership designed to look at how we can better prepare and communicate with parents, school families and educators about how, from a scientific/medical standpoint, they can be best prepared for school,” he said.

The partner agencies involved in the creation of the document included the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and the departments of Education and Health. 

UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson said that it is written in lay terms with a variety of best practices to create a healthy K-12 environment for students and teachers. A second document to specifically address behavioral health for children under these stressful circumstances will be released soon. He said that this is an evolving situation, and these documents will be revised as additional information and science is made available. Lastly, he said this is not meant to guide whether schools should reopen or not, as those are decisions for the governor and the secretary of health; but rather, they are for guidance for people in our communities that if schools reopen, it is done as safely as possible.

Sarah Turner of HSSDSarah Turner, reading intervention teacher at Oaklawn Stem Magnet School in the Hot Springs School District, was also invited to speak and share her perspective on the return to school this year. “I have fears and concerns about going to school this year, just like everyone else,” she said. “I have fears about what happens when our kids come back into the classrooms, but I have greater fears about what happens if they don’t return to on-site instruction.” She said what she is choosing to focus on, and what she is telling students and families to focus on, is that “our team has been planning since May for the safest way to return to the classrooms in the fall. Like districts across the state, ours has purchased every kind of PPE recommended by professionals at the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health. Our students and teachers are being provided with Plexiglas shields for every desk, and the hallways have bottle-filling stations and hand-sanitizing stations. We have protocols to allow for social distancing, health screenings and temperature checks for staff and students on a daily basis, and a different routine for cafeterias and hallways to keep us as separated as possible. 

“At Hot Springs School District, we brought student athletes back on campus on June 2. We held special education and dyslexia screenings beginning in July. We hosted professional developments for staff in July and in August. We hosted a traditional graduation ceremony on July 30, and we held open house this past Tuesday. We have done this safely and successfully. We have communicated with our families about the importance of keeping the students home when they are sick, and we are working through district communications to offer transparent data on our websites and via safety updates to our families.”