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

(9/28/21) 265 active cases in Garland County; Governor gives weekly COVID update

The following statistics and information for Tuesday, Sept. 28, were shared at a press conference with the governor and/or were posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 15,552 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 13 from Monday.
  • 265 active cases in Garland County, down one from Monday.
  • 14,917 recoveries in Garland County, up 12 from Monday.
  • 368 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

There were 800 new cases added statewide today, down from the 1,401 new case count a week ago. Active cases dropped by 647 from yesterday. Hospitalizations are down by 26 to 809, and there are nine less patients requiring ventilation, for a total of 225. The seven-day rolling averages of new cases, hospitalizations and active cases continue to be on the decline. The positivity rate also continues to be below the 10% benchmark to 9.7%. There were 21 deaths reported today. 

The portion of Arkansas residents ages 12 and above who are fully vaccinated is at 52%, with an additional 11.5% who are partially vaccinated.

Governor Asa Hutchinson shared the eligibility criteria for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine booster. People who had the Pfizer vaccine and meet the following criteria should get a booster shot six months after their second dose: those aged 65 and older, those aged 18 and older who are residents in long-term care settings and those aged 50-64 with certain underlying medical conditions. Those who received the Pfizer vaccine may choose to get the booster if they meet the following criteria: those aged 18-49 with certain underlying medical conditions or those aged 18-64 at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure because of occupational or institutional setting.

Hutchinson also made an announcement regarding updates to quarantine criteria for public schools. Individual protections to avoid quarantine include those who are fully vaccinated or have been COVID-positive within the past 90 days, as well as in situations in which both parties are wearing a mask consistently and correctly. A new quarantine protection is for schools with high rates of vacation; more specifically, schools that have at least 70% of their staff and students who are fully vaccinated. Another new option is for schools who opt in to providing rapid tests, and will allow students who do not have another exemption from quarantine who meet the definition of close contact to be tested. As long as students test negative and wear a mask, they will be allowed to remain in school. Because the state has a limited supply of rapid tests, currently at around 100,000, this option is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero gave a summary explaining that isolation and quarantine are time-tested and important in limited spread to the lowest number of individuals as possible He said that Pfizer has submitted data regarding vaccines for those aged 5-11, and the CDC will begin reviewing it for approval later this fall or in early winter. In addition to COVID vaccines and boosters, he said it’s also important for everyone aged 6 months and older to get the influenza vaccine this year. They suspect this flu season could be significant because the past two seasons have been mild.

Secretary of Education Johnny Key shared that no school districts have reported modifications to on-sight instruction this week. As of yesterday, just a little over 2,100 cases in public schools were reported, which is around a 500-case decrease from last Thursday’s report.