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Arkansas covid hospitalizations continue to climb even with decline in new cases

Eight reported covid-19 deaths bring state’s total to 11,736 by Andy Davis | August 4, 2022 at 6:48 a.m.
Signs hang on a door outside the covid ward at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in this Feb. 18, 2022 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)

The number of people hospitalized with covid-19 in Arkansas rose by double digits on Wednesday for the second day in a row even as the state's new case numbers continued to trend downward after peaking last month.

Arkansas' death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Department of Health, rose by eight, to 11,736.

State Epidemiologist Mike Cima said all the deaths reported Wednesday happened within the past month.

After rising by 14 on Tuesday, the number hospitalized rose Wednesday by 12, to 412.

That was still down from the 421 covid-19 patients in the state's hospitals a week earlier, however, and a recent peak of 442 that the number reached on July 20.

The state's count of cases rose Wednesday by 1,128, which was smaller by 183 than the increase a day earlier and by 663 than the one the previous Wednesday.

Dropping for the second day in a row, the average daily increase in the state's case count over a rolling seven-day period fell to 1,057, its lowest level since the week ending July 6.

Declining for the fourth straight day, the number of cases in the state that were considered active fell by 494, to 13,893, as recoveries continued to outpace new cases.

The last time the active case total was below 14,000 was July 7.

Because it can take several days for someone infected with covid-19 to become sick enough to be hospitalized, Cima said the recent increase in the number hospitalized, despite the decline in new cases, is "not all that surprising."

"We are still relatively close to the peak that we hit as far as cases go, so we may have a few more days of this up and down with hospitalizations, but eventually I do expect that to come down," Cima said.

After upticks over the past few months fueled by new, more infectious versions of the omicron variant, he said cases nationally also appear to have started to trend downward, particularly in some states in the Northeast.

"There are other places that are still at a high level, seem to be plateauing, maybe slightly increasing, so that's keeping our national numbers quite high, but I do expect it to come down here very soon," Cima said.

Within Arkansas, Pulaski County had the most new cases, 138, on Wednesday, followed by Washington County with 78, Faulkner County with 66 and Benton County with 58.

The state's cumulative count of cases since March 2020 rose to 906,952.

After not changing a day earlier, the number of the state's virus patients who were in intensive care fell Wednesday by three, to 60.

Dropping for the second straight day, the number who were on ventilators, fell by one, to 15.

At its hospitals in Little Rock and Springdale, Arkansas Children's had 13 covid-19 patients on Wednesday, down from 15 on Tuesday, spokeswoman Hilary DeMillo said.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock had 16 covid-19 patients, down from 20 a week earlier and 25 a week before that, spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said.

"It's definitely headed in the right direction," Taylor said. "We just hope it keeps going down."

None of the hospital's patients on Wednesday were in intensive care or on ventilators, she said, and nine had been fully vaccinated. She said she didn't have information on whether any had received booster shots.

Like the number of hospitalized patients, she said the number of UAMS' 11,000 employees statewide who were not cleared to work on-site for reasons related to covid-19 had fallen over the past week, going from 184 on July 27 to 137 as of Wednesday.

Print Headline: Hospital total rises as new cases ebb


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