County’s case count tops 2,000 with 30 deaths

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Carroll County reached a new mark Monday morning with a cumulative total of 2,000 COVID-19 cases, along with 30 total deaths — including two in the past week — attributed to the novel coronavirus.

The increases come two weeks after the first shipment of vaccine arrived in the county on Dec. 18, with doses administered to healthcare workers at hospitals in Berryville and Eureka Springs.

Statewide, the number of infections has reached more than 214,000 cases, while nearly 3,500 Arkansans have reportedly died from complications related to the virus.

Last week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the next vaccine shipment should arrive in the state soon.

“I get this question often: ‘When’s the next round coming in?’ ” Hutchinson said during his weekly press conference on Dec. 22. “On Friday, I expect to receive notice as to the next shipment on the Pfizer vaccine, and that should indicate how many doses and the timeline for receipt of that vaccine. That should be a recurring process that every Friday we will get notice as to what the shipment will be the next week.”

According to data reported by the Arkansas Department of Health on Monday morning, Carroll County’s total number of cases include 1,770 lab-confirmed cases, along with 230 probable cases, showing an increase of 91 cases in the past seven days, along with two additional deaths.

To date, a total of 1,811 county residents are listed as “recovered,” indicating that they have either completed their quarantine period with a significant reduction in symptoms, no additional complications or have been released from observation.

The state health department Monday reported there were 159 active cases remaining in the county.

Across the state, the number of cases also continued to rise. Numbers released Monday morning showed a statewide total of 214, 877 cases, including 180,289 confirmed and 34,588 probable cases, with 189,985 reported recoveries. The reported death toll on Monday morning stood at 3,482.

“Our goal is to get our healthcare workers, our emergency responders and the staff and residents of our long-term care facilities vaccinated as soon as possible,” Hutchinson said, “and then we’ll move to additional priorities and onto the general public.”

Monday morning’s statewide numbers showed an increase of 6.2 percent in total cases and 245 deaths in the past week, an average of 35 per day.

“Everyone wants to know the answer to the question, ‘When will [the vaccine] get to me?’’’ Hutchinson said. “We know exactly where we are in terms of the first set of distribution, and there’ll be more decisions made as to how this flows into the future until it gets to the entire public. This is a massive distribution effort. It’s a lot of logistics.”

Representatives from both Mercy Hospital in Berryville and Eureka Springs Hospital said last week that their staff were excited to receive the vaccine and that the first doses were given to staff directly treating COVID-positive patients.

“Hopefully, this puts folks at ease. I’m afraid I’ve seen a trend where people aren’t coming to the hospital when they need to because they’re scared of getting the virus,” said Angie Shaw, interim CEO for Eureka Springs Hospital. “I’m hoping this will turn that around.”

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