482 active cases in Garland County; Governor gives weekly COVID update

(9/8/21) 482 active cases in Garland County; Governor gives weekly COVID update

The following statistics and information for Tuesday, Sept. 8, were shared at a press conference with the governor and/or were posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 14,904 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 57 from Tuesday.
  • 482 active cases in Garland County, down 18 from Tuesday.
  • 14,077 recoveries in Garland County, up 75 from Tuesday.
  • 343 deaths in Garland County, no change from Tuesday.

There were 2,181 new cases added statewide today, down from the 2,890 new case count last Wednesday. Active cases dropped by 293 from yesterday. Hospitalizations are down by 19, and there is one less patient requiring ventilation. The seven-day rolling average is flat, or a little on the downswing, and the positivity rate is trending downward, currently at around 12%. There were 34 deaths reported today. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that as of 10 a.m., there were 23 ICU beds available statewide, both for COVID and other general intensive care patients. He said there are 10 COVID-specific ICU beds available, and only two pediatric ICU beds are available. “That’s closer than we like, but it’s better than it has been,” he said. An additional 27 ICU beds will be coming online in September. 

A 20-person medical military team from the Department of Defense is being sent to UAMS to assist with staffing needs. The team will include 14 nurses (four of which are critical care nurses), four physicians and two respiratory therapists. 

The vaccination report showed that over the past 24-hours there were 7,717 doses given, which the governor recognized as being down a bit. Almost 50% of the state’s population of those eligible to be vaccinated, those 12 and older, have been fully vaccinated; an additional 12.6% have been partially vaccinated. 

A graph comparing the number of school-associated cases per 100,000 persons for the first three weeks of the school year showed that there were a total of 1,892 cases per 100,000 from districts with no mask policy, 1,428 cases per 100,000 from districts with a partial mask policy and 1,387 cases per 100,000 from districts with a full-mask policy. 

Secretary of Education Johnny Key reported that two school districts have had to shift to virtual learning this week – Western Yell County School District and Lafayette County School District – as well as one elementary school in Rogers. He said that these districts and others with quarantine challenges are those areas with lower vaccination rates, particularly among school staff. He said the number of cases in schools is higher this school year than the same time last year because of the delta variant, but that vaccines have kept the number of interruptions lower than last year. Preliminary census numbers for the state’s K-12 public schools shows 470,000 students enrolled, which is consistent with last year’s figures. Last year there was an increase in home-school students, which remained steady this year at around 24,000. 

Hutchinson shared two changes to the state’s rental assistance program – applications from those under threat of eviction will be priority cases and funds will now be paid to eligible tenants even if the property owner is unresponsive. There are currently around 2,000 applicants who face eviction, of which 1,300 will be assisted by next week. Around 6,000 applicants have been waiting for their landlords to complete documentation. The contractor administering the rental assistance is also increasing staffing by 70 to a total of 160. The state’s three most populous counties are not a part of the state’s rental assistance programs as they each received federal funds to administer their own programs.