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story.lead_photo.caption A nurse conducts a coronavirus test Tuesday at the UAMS drive-thru screening site in Little Rock. The state has averaged slightly fewer than 6,000 tests a day so far in August, down from an average of 6,285 last month. More photos at arkansasonline.com/819test/. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford) ( Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Stephen Swofford)

The number of known, active covid-19 cases in Arkansas dipped slightly Monday, as deaths and recoveries outpaced the 408 new cases reported by the state's Department of Health.

The majority of the new cases uncovered over the past 24 hours -- 399 results -- came from lab-confirmed tests, according to the Health Department, while only nine were considered "probable" cases that were reported from less-reliable antigen tests, death certificates or suspected cases based on known contact.

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Active cases -- both confirmed and probable -- fell by 141 from Sunday to 6,030 cases on Monday. The decrease was the result of 11 newly reported deaths from the virus and 538 recoveries.

Total cases counted since the start of the pandemic rose to 70,627. The death toll increased to 992.

Hospitalizations from the virus also grew on Monday, by five, to reach 378. The number of patients on ventilators fell by four, to 76.

Monday's numbers were reported online by the Health Department. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has for several months announced weekday case totals at daily news conferences, announced Thursday that he would switch to holding weekly news conferences beginning this week.

The governor still weighed in on the day's numbers, writing on Twitter, "This is the 3rd day of decreasing new cases. Our testing continues to be high, and this is good news. Thanks to everyone for working hard to protect others."

On Friday, during the last of the governor's weekday press briefings, he announced a single-day high of 1,107 newly reported cases. New cases were less than that during each day of the weekend and on Monday.

ADDED STATISTICS

The Health Department reported the results from 6,225 lab-confirmed -- or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) -- tests on Monday, increasing the total number of lab-confirmed tests completed this month to 93,491.

In addition to lab-confirmed tests, the state last week began including positive results from antigen tests as "probable" cases among its publicly reported figures, along with suspected cases based on death certificates and cases in which a person reported covid-19 symptoms after coming into contact with another person known to have the virus.

A total of 1,178 "probable" cases of the virus have been identified -- but not yet confirmed -- according to the Health Department.

Six of the state's reported covid-19 deaths have come from cases listed as "probable" by the Health Department.

COLLEGE REPORTS

Active covid-19 cases associated with the state's colleges and universities dropped by about 17.6% to 1,065 from Thursday's total of 1,293, according to the Health Department's educational institutions report Monday.

The dip mostly resulted from a drop in cases as tallied by the Health Department for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The report listed 735 active cases at UA, down from 953 in Thursday's report.

Totals from the Health Department differ from numbers reported by institutions, as health officials have said colleges may sometimes get information on positive test results before the state. UA on Monday evening updated its count to 334 active cases, down from 722 it reported Friday.

The decrease came despite the university reporting 100 new cases identified from Friday through Sunday, with 75 of the new cases identified through self-reporting of off-campus testing and 25 from on-campus results.

On-campus events have been temporarily suspended at UA from Sept. 5 through Friday, not including classes, though a majority are being taught as online-only courses this semester. The university has not announced if the suspension on events will continue beyond Friday.

Active cases in UA's tally refer to individuals in isolation, which is for those experiencing symptoms while awaiting test results and also for those testing positive for covid-19, according to UA's website.

The 334 active cases reported by UA include 329 students, three staffers, one faculty member and one graduate assistant.

UA also updated its tally of on-campus testing done for the seven-day period that ended Sunday, with 878 tests done. The testing total was down compared with the previous week, when a three-day campus testing event contributed to a total of 2,169 tests for the seven-day period that ended Sept. 6.

The university has more than 27,500 students, including those in online-only degree programs.

The Health Department report listed 17 colleges and universities with at least five active cases, up from the 15 campuses with at least that number in Thursday's report.

Arkansas State University had the second-most active cases behind UA in the report, which listed 54 cases associated with the Jonesboro campus, down from 70 reported Thursday.

However, ASU on its website Monday listed 187 active cases, the same number as it reported Friday.

CASES IN K-12 SCHOOLS

The Health Department also reported Monday that there were a cumulative total of 574 active covid-19 cases in the state's public schools -- up 49 since last Thursday. There are 28 active cases in private kindergarten-through-12th grade schools, up from 24 last Thursday, when the report was last posted.

In all, since June 15 through Monday, there have been 2,919 covid cases in the public schools with 721 employees and 2,175 students being diagnosed. That cumulative total is a jump of 334 from the cumulative 2,585 public school total in last Thursday's report.

The Health Department lists by name the school districts that have five or more active cases, including both confirmed and probable cases.

The Fort Smith School District continues to have the greatest number of active cases at 25 and the greatest number of cumulative cases dating back to June 15, with 123. That's up from 108 on Thursday.

The Pulaski County Special School District has 20 active cases and 42 cumulative cases since June. The Springdale School District has 19 active cases and 90 cumulative cases, according to the report. Berryville and Little Rock school districts are tied with 14 active cases each. Berryville has 20 cumulative cases while the Little Rock district has had a cumulative number of 73 since June.

There are 43 districts with five or more active covid-19 cases right now, totaling 1,245 cases.

Districts that have fewer than five active cases are not singled out by name in the report to protect patient confidentiality. There are 206 active cases in those unnamed school systems, and a cumulative total of 1,674 cases dating back to June 15. That's up 96 since the Thursday report.

Also on Monday, the Jacksonville/North Pulaski School District suspended seventh- and eighth-grade football until further notice. The suspension includes all before- and after-school activities, practices and events.

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The announcement came after a Jacksonville Middle School coach tested positive for covid-19 and 31 students and three coaches were sent home to quarantine for 14 days, district spokeswoman Cheesa Williams said, adding that suspending the sport was a difficult decision but necessary to help prevent further spread of the virus.

"We know this action will be disappointing for our students and families," Williams said. "Please know that we have carefully considered all options and are working to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and families. We hope to resume seventh- and eighth-grade football in the near future."

Jacksonville Middle School resumed on-site instruction Monday after it had shifted Sept. 4 to virtual instruction for all students because of several teachers having to quarantine as a result of possible exposure to covid-19 cases. That left the school short of staff and substitutes.

The Little Rock School District, which posts covid cases and quarantine numbers for students and employees every 24 hours, closed the Roberts Elementary School kindergarten for onsite instruction on Monday through Sept. 24 because of a covid case and the quarantining of multiple staff and students. Onsite instruction will resume Sept. 25, Pamela Smith, a district spokeswoman, said.

Between 3 p.m. Sunday and 3 p.m. Monday, the Little Rock district reported one positive case each at Roberts Elementary and Metropolitan Vocational Technical Skills Center. There were seven staff members and 15 students quarantined from Roberts and nine students and five staff quarantined from Metropolitan. In all there were 42 people quarantined in the 24-hour period, including one each from Central High, Dodd Elementary, the district's health services department, Otter Creek Elementary, Western Hills Elementary and Booker Elementary.

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COUNTY RESULTS

The counties with the most new confirmed cases reported by the Health Department on Monday were: Pulaski County, with 55 cases; Craighead County, with 26 cases; Jefferson County, with 25; Crawford County, with 22; and Faulkner, Sebastian and Stone counties, with 16 new cases each.

Washington County led the state in active cases, with 748.

It was followed Monday by Pulaski County, with 681 cases; Craighead County, with 356 cases; Jefferson County, with 345 cases; and Benton County, with 284 cases.

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