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COVID-19 update: Revisions lower infection rates

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). (CDC via AP, file photo)

EDITOR’S NOTE: As a service to our readers, The Sentinel-Record publishes updates released each weekday by the city of Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas. As of presstime Monday, not all of the daily updates had been released by the Arkansas Department of Health.

The following stats were shared Monday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Health Department’s website:

• 53,077 cumulative cases, up 412 from Sunday.

• 6,341 active cases, down 153 from Sunday.

• 46,133 recoveries, up 561 from Sunday.

• 486 hospitalizations, up eight from Sunday.

• 603 deaths, up four from Sunday.

• 1,682 cumulative nursing home residents infected, up 32 from Friday.

• 120 cases on a ventilator, no change from Sunday.

Revisions made to the Health Department’s COVID-19 stats over the weekend lowered the state’s infection rate by 6% and Garland County’s by 20%.

The revisions increased testing numbers on the Health Department’s website by 27,441 from Friday to Saturday and reduced cumulative cases by 400. Dr. Jose Romero, Health Department secretary, said Monday some negative test results were not being transferred to the Health Department database that catalogs the state’s COVID-19 stats.

“In addition to that, we went back and we, quote, cleaned up, end quote, the data a little bit,” he said. “There were some redundancies in some patients who were being noted twice. There were also individuals who were from out of state who were being counted as in-state, and they were removed from the rolls.”

The revised stats lowered positive tests as a proportion of total testing of Garland County residents from 7.3% to 5.9%, the lowest rate in more than two weeks. The drop coincided with 4,154 test reports being added to the county’s total Saturday, a number representing more than 20% of the more than 20,000 total reports credited to the county.

The state also revised the number of Hot Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation — a Waters Community residents who died from COVID-19, with Friday’s nursing homes and congregate settings report showing seven expired residents compared to the 10 listed on previous reports. The Health Department said Monday that resident and staff deaths will only be included in reports it issues on Fridays.

The deaths at the Golf Links Road nursing home were first made public Aug. 5 and are total COVID-19 deaths at the facility since the pandemic began.

“On the nursing home cases, three deaths that were originally reported to be COVID-19-related on the nursing homes/congregate settings report have been found not to meet the criteria and have been removed,” Gavin Lesnick, the Health Department’s public information director, said in an email Monday. “This is provisional data, so it can change as we get new and better information.”

The revised stats lowered the state’s rolling seven-day average of new cases by 27% from Friday to Saturday, falling from 62o.43 to 453. Saturday’s average, Sunday’s 467.43 average and Monday’s 434.14 average were the lowest since early-to-mid June and about half the July 29 peak of 817.43.

“Clearly we have a downward trend over the last week to 10 days,” Hutchinson said. “I’m not necessarily saying that is going to continue, because that all depends on the individual behavior of people in Arkansas … I’m hopeful that it will be a consistent downward trend, but I’m not in the predictive mode when it comes to the coronavirus.”

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