Cluster reported at local nursing home

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

By Scott Loftis

and Samantha Jones

Fueled by a cluster of newly confirmed cases at a Berryville nursing home, Carroll County’s COVID-19 statistics rose sharply over the past week.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported Monday morning that there have been a cumulative total of 745 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Carroll County, with an additional 12 probable cases. Those numbers include 91 active confirmed cases and three active probable cases. Ten Carroll County residents have died from the virus, according to the health department.

One week earlier, on Monday, Sept. 28, Carroll County had 658 confirmed and seven probable cases, with 70 active cases. The increase of 92 active and probable cases represents a 13.8 percent jump in one week, while active cases increased by 34.3 percent.

A health department report on nursing home cases indicated there were 10 cases among residents and five among staff at Autumn Hill Therapy and Living Center in Berryville. The most recent positive cases among both residents and staff were reported on Wednesday, Sept. 30, according to the report.

Autumn Hill administrator John Higgs responded via email to a request for comment, saying the facility first received word of a “presumptive positive case” during routine weekly testing on Monday, Sept. 28. Higgs said Autumn Hill has been working closely with local health agencies and the federal Centers for Disease Control.

“Our residents are currently in isolation at the facility following guidance from the CDC to reduce the risk of exposure to others,” Higgs said in a statement. “We are taking several additional steps to prevent the spread of the virus in our community including monitoring all residents and staff for fever and respiratory symptoms.

“Autumn Hill continues to work with Arkansas Department of Health and CDC to identify and contact residents and staff who may have come into contact with the individual while they were infectious,” Higgs said.

“No other information will be provided about the residents. We are strictly adhering to CDC guidelines and taking the necessary steps to ensure we are doing all we can to protect the health of our residents and employees.”

As of Monday morning, the health department reported a cumulative total of 83,306 confirmed cases in the state, with an additional 3,707 probable cases. The state has experienced 1,278 confirmed deaths from the virus, with anther 147 probable deaths. While the confirmed death total increased by 118 from a week earlier, the number of probable deaths reported by the health department declined by one.

The health department reported 6,405 active confirmed cases as of Monday morning, with 817 active probable cases. A total of 500 Arkansans were currently hospitalized, an increase of 28 from the previous day, with 89 on ventilators.

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