(08/20/20) - ACHI provides increased data at school district

(08/20/20)  ACHI provides increased data at school district level

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

  • 54,765 total confirmed cases, up 549 from 54,216 on Wednesday. 
  • 5,666 active cases, down 253 from Wednesday.
  • 48,558 recoveries, up 792 from Wednesday.
  • 641 deaths, up 10 from Wednesday.
  • 499 cases requiring hospitalization, no change from Wednesday.
  • 108 cases requiring a ventilator, down six from Wednesday. 
  • 1,233 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 26 from Wednesday.   
  • 201 active cases in Garland County, down seven from Wednesday.   
  • 1,013 recoveries in Garland County, up 32 from Wednesday. 
  • 19 deaths in Garland County, up one from Wednesday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases in Arkansas was 549 with 50 from correctional facilities and 499 in the community. Counties with the number of new cases higher than 20 in the past 24 hours are Pulaski (51), Sebastian (35), Jefferson (29), Garland (24), Crawford (22), Craighead (21), Mississippi (20), and Pope (20). 

The number of tests completed in the past 24 hours was 6,898. 

This month, the State of Arkansas has tested 115,915 Arkansans and have completed 10,350 antigen tests. 

Public schools start opening on Monday with in-class instruction. The State of Arkansas has partnered with Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) for increased data availability and data broken down to the school district level.  This data can show options and directions for school districts with positive cases on how to modify operations as needed and the risk. This map can be found at ACHI.net/covid19. Gov. Hutchinson encouraged schools to still call the Department of Education and Department of Health for guidance and information to help understand the data to make the right decisions.

Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero states that a person exposed to the virus, may take 14 days for symptoms to show or dor the individual to become positive. A positive test indicates a person is infected. A negative test does not indicate that the person is not infected, it just means that the virus didn’t make enough of itself to be indicated on the test. This is why, even if a person is negative, they need to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Dr. Joe Thompson with ACHI gave more information on the COVID-19 Map found at ACHI.net/covid19. This data will provide the risk factors to the school districts to know if they are in a high or low risk situation in each community. To date, there are 19 school districts that have 50 or more positive cases per 10k residents in the area. These individuals do not include incarcerated or nursing home individuals. The staff at ACHI have given four data points dating back into July 2020 to help find patterns and trend lines. This map will be updated weekly with new data points so parents, school district officials, personnel, for the state to monitor and allocate resources and vigilance.

Secretary of Education Johnny Key presented an example of a PPE screening kit that will be distributed to 1,055 school buildings, which can be used at the school’s discretion on if they are screening students and staff. There are 2,000 kits being delivered to the schools across the state. Each building will receive at least one. The amount of kits received depends on the size of the building and entry points. Each kit contains a thermometer, gloves, masks, sanitary wipes and other PPE equipment. 

He also wanted to let individuals know that the ACHI.net/covid19 map is only a tool, it’s not the only tool. He stated that there are some areas that cases can traced back to inside the district areas, this doesn’t reflect what may be coming into the school buildings. Local context needs to always be in consideration.