For Immediate Release

Nov. 18, 2021


John Lyon
Strategic Communications Manager


ACHI Urges Precautions for Thanksgiving Gatherings

LITTLE ROCK ― After reporting last week that no school district in Arkansas was in the “red zone” for having a COVID-19 infection rate of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said Thursday there are eight red-zone districts this week, citing its analysis of data obtained Monday from the Arkansas Department of Health.

Also Thursday, the nonpartisan health policy center offered tips for celebrating Thanksgiving safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACHI’s map showing COVID-19 infection rates in school districts ― available at ― uses the following color key: 0 to 9 new known infections per 10,000 residents over 14 days, dark green; 10 to 19 infections per 10K residents, light green; 20 to 29 infections per 10K residents, yellow; 30 to 49 infections per 10K residents, orange; 50 to 99 infections per 10K residents, red; and 100 or more infections per 10K residents, purple.

Districts in the red zone this week are:

o   Cedar Ridge

o   Dierks

o   Izard County Consolidated

o   Jackson County

o   Mountain View

o   Salem

o   Sloan-Hendrix

o   White County Central

The color-shading of a district is based on infections among community residents living within the geographical boundaries of each school district and not on cases among school employees and students.

Known infections reported by ACHI include confirmed and probable cases. Probable cases are based on verbal reporting and antigen test results, as identified by the Department of Health.

Infection rates and counts are not shown for districts with fewer than five reported infections to reduce the possibility of identifying individuals. School district counts do not include infections among incarcerated populations, in nursing homes, or in human development centers.

ACHI also updated the maps and tables on its website displaying vaccination rates by public school district, community, and ZIP code, using Department of Health data current as of Monday. For the second week in a row, eight school districts have COVID-19 vaccination rates of at least 50% of district residents: Bentonville at 56%; Cleveland County, Eureka Springs, Fountain Lake, and Magnet Cove at 54%; Pulaski County Special School District at 52%; and Little Rock and Rogers at 50%.

“As we enter the holidays, COVID-19 remains present in all of our communities,” said ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson. “It is very concerning that after a week with no red districts, the trend has reversed with eight districts in the red this week. I encourage parents to get their kids protected, and as we prepare for Thanksgiving gatherings next week I urge inclusion of COVID-19 precautions in your families’ plans.”

For a safe, healthy Thanksgiving, ACHI recommends the following:

  • Get vaccinated if you haven’t yet. People 5 and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Wear a face mask when you go to the grocery store or other indoor public settings. Also, mask up when serving food.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating or serving food.
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors. Plan outside activities, such as a picnic.
  • Communicate with your guests ahead of time about ground rules, precautions you’re taking, and vaccine expectations. If you’re sick, don’t host or attend an event.
  • Travel safely around the holiday. If not vaccinated, delay travel if you can. If traveling with unvaccinated people, avoid crowds, wear a mask, and get tested.

ACHI is a nonpartisan, independent health policy center that serves as a catalyst for improving the health of all Arkansans through evidence-based research, public issue advocacy, and collaborative program development.