Gov. Asa Hutchinson gave his weekly COVID-19 update, assuring the public that the state would be ready to distribute the limited amount of COVID-19 vaccine to prioritized front-line healthcare workers when it becomes available.

The Winter Task Force today recommended utilizing the same tool that the state’s trauma network uses. It would facilitate the closest facility that meets the COVID-19 patient’s needs. This tool should help with transferring patients from hospitals with heavy COVID-19 caseloads, so that no one hospital gets overwhelmed with too many COVID-19 patients. Setting up this networking tool is expected to take two weeks and cost about $70,000 a month, based on the trauma-network model.

Per the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, effective Monday, Nov. 30, Independence County is following the national and regional trend of increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases with a significant increase in the past two weeks.

Currently the infection rate per 1,000 people in the county is 4.42, but this number is expected to rise in the near term. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and others, have cautioned that a false lowering of number in the first part of the week is possible due to tests not being conducted at a number of sites over the Thanksgiving holiday period.

The North Central region, of which Independence County is a part, is at 6.31 infections per 1,000, lower than last week’s 7.03 score. Cleburne County at 3.93 infections per 1,000.

Independence County, per the Department of Health, now has 167 active cases, This is of 2,088 cases to date with 1,085 recoveries. County deaths due to COVID-19 remain at 71.

Arkansas has 156,247 cases, with 136,872 listed as recovered, from the previous week’s 145,173 and 125,153, respectively.

November is the highest month to date for infection rates in the state, with the top-ten highest days for infection all taking place during the month. The highest day is last week’s Nov. 26 with 2,348 cases, above the previous record of 2,312 cases Nov. 13. The lowest of the top 10 is Nov. 14 with 1,848 cases reported in the state.

Updates may be found at healthy.arkansas.gov, ACHI.net/covid19 and the independent arkansascovid.com web sites.

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