1,950 new cases today (Governor's weekly update)

(12/1/20) 1,950 new cases today as hospitalizations reach 1,074

The following statistics were shared at the governor’s weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 159,309 total cases, up 1,950 from Monday.
  • 16,094 total active cases, down 46 from Monday.
  • 2,512 total deaths, up 10 from Monday.
  • 1,074 cases requiring hospitalization, up 11 from Monday.
  • 195 cases requiring a ventilator, down six from Monday. 
  • 3,910 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 38 from Monday.
  • 422 active cases in Garland County, down 13 from Monday.
  • 3,382 recoveries in Garland County, up 51 from Monday.
  • 105 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of positive PCR tests added in Arkansas was 1,142, with 1,127 from the community and 15 from correctional facilities. There were 808 positive antigen results from a total of 4,365 antigen tests in the past 24 hours. The number of PCR tests received in the past 24 hours was 5,161. 

Hutchinson began his weekly COVID-19 update by saying he is thankful for healthcare workers across Arkansas as we enter the tenth month of the pandemic. He said he is also grateful for work being done on vaccines, adding that while the FDA reviews possible vaccines, work is being done in Arkansas to prepare for the arrival of the vaccine doses  to the state, and their distribution based on the limited supply. 

He also gave thanks to the Winter COVID-19 Task Force that has concentrated efforts on how the state can manage hospitalizations in a more efficient manner “to maximize space in the hospitals” and “be ready for an unknown future.”

Troy Wells, CEO of the Baptist Health System and member of the Winter COVID-19 Task Force, noted that some of a hospital’s most precious resources are ICU staff and beds. He explained that Trauma Com is being adapted to be used for COVID-19 patient transfers, providing updates to hospitals on available capacity from across the state hour-by-hour and day-to-day.

Hutchinson showed a bar graph illustrating the percent of occupied ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients by hospital region that had the Southwest Region, for which the hospitals in Hot Springs are regional providers, well above the other regions at 57.26%. The next highest region is the Southeast at 39.29%, then the Northeast at 38.1%. The growth rate of new COVID-19 cases from Nov. 22 – 28 by public health region shows that the Southeast and Central regions have the highest percentages at 7.5%, followed by the Northeast and Southwest regions at 7.4%. 

Hutchinson noted that the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has skewed the testing result numbers lower than what the state has been experiencing. He said he will wait and see over the upcoming days to see how the state fares following this holiday as PCR test reporting picks back up to normal levels. In November, the state recorded more than 333,000 PCR tests, which is more than 10% of the state’s population, and antigen tests came in at more than 59,000.

To assist schools with staffing concerns, the governor announced that, as was done recently for nursing students slated to graduate at the end of this semester, teacher education students who are scheduled to graduate will have their licensure paperwork expedited and their application fees waived. The fee waiver will be from Dec. 1 through April 1, 2021. 

Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, deputy commissions of the Arkansas Department of Education, said that there are currently 29 on-site learning modifications in place, with 10 being added so far this week. She also provided an update to Engage Arkansas, which seeks to find students that did not return this fall and re-engage students who are learning from home and may not be as engaged as in the past. Student outreach and support is underway for the 110 districts that have opted in to the program, consisting of almost 5,000 students. Approximately 74% of the students have agreed to receive academic coaching. 

12-1-20 ADH daily graphic