Coronavirus in Arkansas: Gov. Hutchinson announces additional 2,122 cases, 18 deaths Tuesday

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday the state saw an increase of 2,122 total cases and 18 deaths.

Out of the cases announced Tuesday, 1,421 are confirmed cases and 701 are considered probable.

Out of the 18 deaths announced Tuesday, 17 are among confirmed cases and one was among a probable case.

There have been 2,405 deaths in Arkansas due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 988 people hospitalized in Arkansas due to the virus, which is an increase of 14 from Monday.

The number of people currently on ventilators in Arkansas due to the virus decreased by four Tuesday to 160.

According to ADH, there were 10,359 PCR tests and 4,571 antigen tests completed Monday. So far in November, there have been 258,124 PCR tests and 44,130 antigen tests completed.

According to state officials, it takes two and a half days from the time a test is collected until it’s entered into the Arkansas Department of Health system.

As of November 15, the time between the test being entered into the ADH system to a case investigation is two days and 20 hours, according to the department of health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed contact tracing guidelines Monday. The CDC recommends prioritizing people who tested positive within the last six days.

Governor Hutchinson said as a reminder to people to answer the call from a contact tracer if they have tested positive. The numbers are 877-272-6819, 833-283-2019 and 501-686-5875.

ADH recommends Arkansans stay home for Thanksgiving, but if people decide to have a gathering, stay outside, keep it brief, stay apart and wear a mask.

Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero said when the state receives a vaccine, there will not be enough for everyone until the second or third quarter of 2021. According to state officials, the state will receive 45,000 to 90,000 vaccine doses as an initial allotment, and health care workers will be prioritized followed by individuals in group homes.

According to Troy Wells, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baptist Health, there are 199 patients with COVID-19 with 90 in Little Rock, 45 in Fort Smith, 42 in North Little Rock and the rest spread out across the state. Sixty of the patients with COVID-19 are in critical care, according to Wells. The President and CEO of Baptist Health said the hospital usually has 1,100 to 1,200 patients each day. Wells said there will be an additional 18 critical care beds opening in 2021 in Little Rock.

Hutchinson said ICU beds are normally full, not just during the pandemic.

Education Secretary Johnny Key said as of last week, 41 schools had on-site modifications. Key said that was down a bit from the previous week. According to Secretary Key, 267 schools have returned to normal instruction. Key says 67% of the modifications were specific grade levels at a school and 29% were entire districts.

Governor Hutchinson also wished a happy 106th birthday to Priscilla Boyle, who was hospitalized in June due to COVID-19 but has since recovered. According to Hutchinson, Boyle is originally from Moscow, Arkansas but moved to Little Rock in 1942.

You can watch the news conference above.

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