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COVID-19 cases in Union County grew by 22 to reach a cumulative total of 1,380 on Wednesday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. The cases in the county Wednesday included 1,191 confirmed cases, up 15 from Tuesday, and 189 probable cases, up seven from Tuesday.

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.

One Union County resident’s death that resulted from COVID-19 was reported Wednesday. There have now been 56 local deaths caused by the virus, indicating a local COVID mortality rate — the percentage of those who die after contracting the virus — of 4.1%.

The number of local active cases rose to their highest level yet on Wednesday, growing by 12 to reach 93; they represented 6.7% of all the cases identified in the county. The active cases in Union County Wednesday included 68 confirmed cases and 25 probable cases. The number of recoveries in Union County rose to 1,231, up nine from Tuesday.

During Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key spoke about school modifications — pivots from on-site to virtual learning — at different districts around the state. The Smackover-Norphlet School District announced such a modification Saturday, wherein all schools in the district are closed to on-site learning through Nov. 30 due to a COVID diagnosis in a food service worker and the subsequent quarantine of several other workers.

Key said that so far this school year, the ADE has been informed of 204 on-site school modifications, including 46 last week and 16 this week; he said there were currently 72 active on-site school modifications.

“We do acknowledge seeing a substantial increase in the number of schools affected by COVID-19. Frankly, this is not a surprise,” Key said. “Our school districts are doing an excellent job in consulting to understand community and COVID data. Our collective goal is to maximize students’ on-site instruction, but safely.”

A Nov. 16 report by the ADH on COVID cases in schools showed 12 active cases in the El Dorado School District; it said a cumulative total of 54 cases had been identified in the district, including 24 in faculty and staff and 30 in students. Some of the ESD students affected by COVID are cheerleaders; coach Tab Bledsoe said the team is making adjustments as necessary.

“COVID is hitting us hard with several being quarantined throughout the year so far. But we have a very versatile group of athletes and they monitor and adjust as needed,” Bledsoe said on Tuesday. “We have redone our choreography for competition several times including right before leaving for competition Saturday morning and again Monday afternoon before competition again tomorrow (Wednesday). So the girls at this point are used to change and embrace it with a smile on their face!”

“We are happy we are getting to cheer at the games we are able to go to and we are thrilled we are getting to have our competition season,” Bledsoe added.

There were 139 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the Southwest public health region, where Union County is located, on Wednesday, including 52 in intensive care units and 21 on ventilator support.

The ADH reported 31 new negative test results returned from Union County Wednesday, indicating a one-day local positivity rate of 41.5% based on the number of new cases and results reported. In all, 14,745 COVID-19 test results have returned from Union County, including 13,365 negatives, indicating an overall local positivity rate of 9.4%.

Arkansas’ cumulative number of COVID-19 cases rose by 1,715 on Wednesday to reach 137,617. The cases in the state Wednesday included 122,481 confirmed cases, up 1,323 from Tuesday, and 15,136 probable cases, up 387 from Tuesday.

The deaths of 30 Arkansans that resulted from COVID-19 were reported Wednesday, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,275, indicating a state COVID mortality rate of 1.7%. There were 893 Arkansans hospitalized due to the virus Wednesday, including 339 in ICUs and 142 on ventilator support.

Active cases hit a new high in Arkansas as well on Wednesday, growing by one to reach 16,577; they represented 12% of all the cases identified in the state. The active cases in Arkansas on Wednesday included 12,611 confirmed cases and 3,966 probable cases. There were 118,751 Arkansans considered recovered from the virus Wednesday, up 1,683 from Tuesday.

The ADH reported 12,391 new COVID-19 test results returned to the department Wednesday, indicating a one-day positivity rate for the state of 13.8% based on the number of new cases and results reported. Since the state began testing for COVID-19, 1,641,540 results have returned to the ADH, including 1,501,296 negatives, indicating an overall positivity rate for the state of 8.4%.

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, Johns Hopkins University reported 11,441,946 COVID-19 cases in the United States. Of those, 4,293,640 people were considered recovered, leaving 6,898,573 cases — 60.3% — active nationwide. There had been 249,733 deaths attributable to the virus in the U.S. by Wednesday afternoon, indicating a national COVID mortality rate of 2.2%.

Johns Hopkins University reported 56,024,130 COVID-19 cases worldwide Wednesday afternoon. Of those, 35,969,240 people were considered recovered, leaving 18,709,251 cases — 33.4% — active around the world. There had been 1,345,639 deaths attributable to the virus by Wednesday afternoon, indicating a global COVID mortality rate of 2.4%.

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