The Arkansas Department of Health issued a new health directive for some businesses Thursday as the state saw its second-largest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he would hold a press conference today to speak about hospital capacity.
Locally, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases grew by 13 on Thursday to reach 1,393. The cases in Union County on Thursday included 1,196 confirmed cases, up five from Wednesday, and 197 probable cases, up eight from Wednesday.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests that determine confirmed cases are more sensitive than the antigen tests that determine probable cases.
Active cases in Union County reached a new high Thursday, growing by five to reach 98; they represented 7% of all the cases identified locally. The active cases in the county on Thursday included 66 confirmed cases and 32 probable cases. There were 1,239 Union County residents considered recovered from the virus Thursday, up eight from Thursday.
No new local deaths caused by COVID-19 were reported Thursday. Fifty-six Union County residents have died as a result of the virus. In the Southwest public health region of the state, where Union County is located, there were 142 people hospitalized due to the virus Thursday, including 60 in intensive care units and 25 on ventilator support.
The ADH reported 53 new negative test results returned from Union County Thursday, indicating a local one-day positivity rate of 20.6% based on the number of new cases and results reported. In all, 14,811 COVID-19 test results have returned from Union County, including 13,418 negatives, indicating an overall local positivity rate of 9.4%.
The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas grew by 2,238 Thursday to reach 139,855. The rise in cases is the second-largest the state’s seen since the pandemic hit in March; the highest one-day increase in cases was on Oct. 13, when 2,312 new cases were reported. The cases in Arkansas Thursday included 124,165 confirmed cases, up 1,684 from Wednesday, and 15,690 probable cases, up 554 from Wednesday.
The ADH, in consultation with Hutchinson, issued a health directive Thursday stating that “Alcohol Beverage Commission on-premise permitted locations shall close at 11 p.m.” The directive, which covers restaurants, bars and private clubs with “on-premise permits,” goes into effect today and will remain in effect through Jan. 3, 2021. Violations could result in a misdemeanor charge with a penalty of fines of between $100 and $500, a jail sentence of one month or both, according to the ADH.
In a statement on his website, Hutchinson said the directive comes from a recommendation from the Winter COVID-19 Task Force he announced last week.
Active COVID-19 cases reached their highest level yet Thursday, growing by 421 to reach 16,998; they represented 12.2% of all the cases identified in Arkansas. The active cases in the state Thursday included 12,911 confirmed cases and 4,087 probable cases. There were 120,545 Arkansans considered recovered from the virus Thursday, up 1,794 from Wednesday.
The deaths of 22 Arkansans that resulted from COVID-19 were reported Thursday, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,297, indicating a state COVID mortality rate of 1.6%. There were 891 Arkansans hospitalized due to the virus Thursday afternoon, including 353 in ICUs and 143 on ventilator support. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that only 68 critical care beds were available statewide as of Thursday afternoon.
The ADH reported 13,594 COVID-19 new test results returned to the department on Thursday, indicating a one-day positivity rate for the state of 16.5% based on the number of new cases and results reported. Since the state began testing for COVID-19, 1,659,681 test results have returned to the ADH, including 1,517,079 negatives, indicating an overall positivity rate for the state of 8.4%.
At 4 p.m. Thursday, Johns Hopkins University reported 11,667,719 COVID-19 cases in the United. States. Of those, 4,348,089 people were considered recovered, leaving 7,067,738 cases — 60.6% — active nationwide. There had been 251,892 deaths attributable to the virus in the U.S. by Thursday afternoon, indicating a national COVID mortality rate of 2.2%.
Johns Hopkins reported 56,708,132 COVID-19 cases worldwide Thursday afternoon. Of those, 36,337,282 people were considered recovered, leaving 19,014,161 cases — 33.5% — active around the world. There had been 1,356,689 deaths attributable to the virus by Thursday afternoon, indicating a global COVID mortality rate of 2.4%.