COVID-19 in Arkansas
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people around the world, including Arkansans. ACHI will provide updates and insights on this evolving public health crisis.
COVID-19: A Local View
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These tables show cumulative and active numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas communities and school districts based on data from the Arkansas Department of Health. The counts do not include cases among incarcerated populations. We currently plan to update the tables weekly.
Community cases are listed in two categories, “Self-Reported City” and “Community.” Cases in the “Self-Reported” category are assigned based on cities of residence that individuals reported to the Department of Health. Cases in the “Community” category are assigned by matching individuals’ ZIP codes with the cities that the U.S. Postal Service has designated as being associated with those ZIP codes.
In partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, ACHI is releasing school district-level data based on the overall population of each school district. Resident populations for school districts are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey – Education Tabulation based on 2014‒2018 estimates. Locations of cases are based on reported addresses and geographic Arkansas school district boundaries.
Interpretation of these rates requires ensuring an adequate number of underlying tests are being performed. Currently, we are utilizing the rates of tests per county population in the past two weeks to align with the numbers and rates of active cases per school district. The county testing rates reflect the rates in the counties where the school districts are located.
- Cities and communities with fewer than 10 active cases are listed here.
- Cities and communities with fewer than 10 cumulative cases are listed here.
- School districts with fewer than 10 active cases are listed here.
- School districts with fewer than 10 cumulative cases are listed here.
Deeper Dive: In previous updates, we have calculated city-level rates of cumulative positive cases based on the population of each city. We no longer report city-level rates of cumulative cases. To account for individuals who are members of a community but reside outside the city limits, we now report community-level rates of cumulative and active cases.
Community-level rates of positive COVID-19 cases are based on the number of active or cumulative cases in ZIP codes associated with each community and the total population reported for those ZIP codes. ZIP code and city associations are designated by the U.S. Postal Service, and ZIP code population estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 American Communities Survey. Click here to view ZIP code assignments for cities.
Dr. Joe Thompson, president and CEO of ACHI, provides a public service announcement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 14, the CDC posted a report on a hair salon in Springfield, Mo., where two stylists served a total of 139 clients between developing respiratory symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19. All involved wore face coverings, and no clients were known to be infected. The report shows how effective face coverings can be in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
What Cities and Towns Should Know During the COVID-19 Pandemic
ACHI and the Arkansas Municipal League hosted a video call on August 13, 2020, to discuss what cities, towns, and other state municipalities should know about the COVID-19 pandemic.
This video provides a quick glance at the immune system as it attempts to fight off the coronavirus.
ACHI BOARD PROPOSES FIVE COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS FOR EMPLOYERS
Recommendations Include Mask Requirement in Shared Spaces
The ACHI Health Policy Board’s position is that employers have an obligation to help achieve control of the COVID-19 pandemic, protect individuals, and minimize economic hardships in the state. All entities subject to the Arkansas Department of Health’s public health directives — including business-specific directives such as those for gyms, bars, and restaurants and general directives such as those for all businesses, manufacturers, and construction companies — should comply with those directives at a minimum. In addition, all public, private, and nonprofit entities that are not otherwise subject to a business-specific directive should adopt the following additional reasonable precautions in an effort to protect themselves from potential liability and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from customers and visitors to others including their own employees:
- Require employees, customers, and visitors to wear face coverings in shared spaces while inside;
- Screen all employees for potential COVID-19 exposure and symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell as they are entering the facility at the beginning of work;
- Make verbal announcements and post signage including signs for non-English speakers that encourage proper face covering placement, hand hygiene, and coughing and sneezing etiquette;
- Establish and make available to the public written COVID-19 protocols for protection of employees, customers, and visitors; and
- Regularly monitor and assess compliance for necessary changes to existing practices based on available peer-reviewed evidence and public health guidance.
Testing Types, Recent Developments, and Policy Considerations
An important element of the response to the global COVID-19 pandemic is the development and implementation of testing. Our new explainer provides information on the types of testing used to identify COVID-19, recent testing developments, and policy considerations.
- Testing for COVID-19 can be grouped into two categories: molecular tests, to determine whether an individual is currently infected, and serological tests, to determine whether an individual is currently or has previously been infected. Serological tests can also sometimes determine whether an individual is immune.
- To promote rapid expansion of testing capacity, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given states permission to develop and use tests that have not been submitted to or approved by the agency.
- The FDA also has given commercial test developers permission to market molecular tests without FDA authorization and has issued emergency use authorizations for a few serological tests.
- Initially, the Arkansas Department of Health limited testing to Arkansans with possible high-risk exposure to COVID-19, but on April 15, 2020, the department relaxed testing criteria to include individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, if a provider has adequate testing supplies.
- Progress has been made in expanding testing capability in Arkansas, but to date, testing in the state is still inadequate to determine how many Arkansans are infected with the virus.
Defining COVID-19 Terms
We have launched a series of blog posts explaining key terms and phrases used by public health officials in discussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 19, the CDC posted a report on a COVID-19 outbreak that occurred among members of an Arkansas church in March. At least 35 of 92 people who attended church gatherings with two symptomatic people acquired the illness, and three of them died. The church gatherings also were linked to 26 additional cases in the community, including one death.
On May 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a report on a COVID-19 outbreak in Washington state. Among people who attended a March choir practice with one infected person, 87% developed the illness, according to the report.
In partnership with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, ACHI is participating in weekly video calls to update business leaders from across the state on COVID-19 and address their questions. Watch the video above for the August 6 update.
Special thank you to Waymack and Crew for providing space and equipment for hosting the call.
ARKANSAS DECISION POINTS FOR REOPENING
Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Health have made a series of announcements regarding the lifting of some restrictions and guidelines intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. The White House has provided guidelines for the phased reopening of states, although states are not bound by them.
Reopening decisions announced to date include:
- Certain restrictions lifted on elective medical procedures, effective April 27.
- Resumption of elective dental services, with restrictions, effective May 11.
- Resumption of overnight camping at state parks, with restrictions, effective May 1.
- Reopening of certain facilities at state parks, including visitor centers, gift shops, golf pro shops, restaurants, museums, marinas, equipment rental shops, cabins, and lodges, effective May 15.
- Resumption of limited dine-in operations at restaurants, effective May 11.
- Resumption of limited activities at gyms and fitness centers, effective May 4.
- Resumption of limited in-person operations at barber shops, body art establishments, body art schools, cosmetology establishments, massage therapy clinics/spas, and medical spas, effective May 6.
- Reopening of large outdoor venues for limited activities, effective May 4.
- Relaxed guidance issued for places of worship, effective May 4.
- Reopening of large indoor venues for limited activities, effective May 18.
- Reopening of casinos for limited operations, effective May 18.
- Further lifting of restrictions on elective medical procedures, effective May 11.
- Reopening of recreational pools for limited activities, effective May 22.
- Reopening of bars inside restaurants for limited operations, effective May 19.
- Reopening of freestanding bars for limited operations, effective May 26.
- Permission for summer camps to operate, with restrictions, effective May 21.
- Restrictions on elective medical procedures loosened a third time, effective May 25.
- Permission for some community- and school-sponsored team sports to operate, with restrictions, effective June 1.
- Further lifting of restrictions on elective dental services, effective June 15 and revised June 22.
- Further lifting of restrictions on large outdoor venues, effective June 15.
- Further lifting of restrictions on large indoor venues, effective June 15.
- Further lifting of restrictions on barber shops, body art establishments, body art schools, cosmetology establishments, massage therapy clinics/spas, and medical spas, effective June 15.
- Further lifting of restrictions on bars and clubs, effective June 15.
- Further lifting of restrictions on restaurant dine-in operations, effective June 15.
- Loosening of restrictions applicable to all businesses, effective June 15.
- Further lifting of restrictions on gyms and fitness centers, effective June 15.
- Further lifting of restrictions on casinos, effective June 15.
Helpful Links and Numbers:
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is tracking statewide cases, and more information can be found here.
The White House has issued guidelines for slowing the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC posts regular online updates with latest guidelines and information on COVID-19.
COVID-19 Hotlines and Screening Information:
ADH: During normal business hours (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.), urgent and non-urgent calls, please dial 1-800-803-7847 or email ADH.CoronaVirus@arkansas.gov. After normal business hours and weekend calls, needing immediate response, please call 1-800-554-5738.
UAMS: Click here for screening information, including drive-thru screenings and phone screenings. Their COVID-19 Hotline is 1-800-632-4502.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH): For children younger than 18 years old, call 1-800-743-3616. Nursing staff will be available for questions and phone screenings 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click here for more information from ACH.