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State ceases daily update of covid cases on website

Data will appear weekly with other diseases by Teresa Moss | March 23, 2023 at 3:24 a.m.
Christian Vest of Hot Springs, an undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, waits in line to receive a covid-19 test at the Arkansas Union Mall on the university campus in this Jan. 19, 2022, file photo. The university hosted walk-up testing through Feb. 18 for members of the campus community who were not feeling symptoms of sickness from the coronavirus. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

The Arkansas Department of Health has stopped daily updates on covid-19 data -- two months after Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive directing the department to prioritize other health issues over the disease.

"The ADH has integrated COVID-19 information and trends into the data hub that displays information for other diseases and conditions," Danyelle McNeill, Health Department spokeswoman, said in an email. "This is part of ADH's effort to report Covid-19 data similar to how data for other infectious diseases are reported."

Sanders' executive order, signed on Jan. 13, repealed several covid-19 executive orders put in place by former Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Hutchinson's orders included the creation of task forces focused on the pandemic.

The Jan. 13 order mentions President Joe Biden's remarks on "60 Minutes" in September 2022 that claimed the pandemic was over.

[DOCUMENT: Read Sanders' executive order »]

"Over time, a pandemic disease transitions to an endemic disease, meaning the disease is still present but has more predictable behavior with less spikes," McNeill said Wednesday. "As the disease has entered the endemic phase, ADH has appropriately returned to normal operations."

A new data hub lists covid-19 among other diseases such as monkeypox, hepatitis, influenza, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, rabies and tickborne illnesss.

A dashboard updated weekly will show new covid-19 cases, related hospitalizations and deaths. The state's previous dashboard updated daily data such as cases, active cases, intensive care unit patients and vaccines.

The weekly dashboard had yet to update as of Thursday. Health Department officials say it will be updated every Tuesday.

The first case of covid-19 was reported in the state in March 2020. There have been about 22,126 cases of covid-19 reported so far this year, according to Health Department data, and 250 deaths.

Print Headline: State ceases daily update of covid cases on website


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