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More COVID hits school districts in Southwest Arkansas

by Andrew Bell | January 12, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
Courtesy of Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

From Staff Reports

LITTLE ROCK -- A record 226 Arkansas public school districts, or 97% of the state's 234 contiguous school districts, have COVID-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said Monday, citing its analysis of Arkansas Department of Health data current as of Saturday.

Among those added to the list this week from this area are Blevins, De Queen, Foreman, Fouke and Genoa Central.

ACHI made a special update to the COVID-19 dashboard on its website Monday in response to the accelerated spread of the virus. ACHI also added a new color, pink, to the maps on the dashboard, available at achi.net/covid19, to signify an infection rate of 200 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over the past 14 days, or at least 2% of the district's population. In some districts, more than 4% of residents in the local community are known to be infected.

In the face of the immediate threat posed by the explosion of the omicron variant across Arkansas communities, ACHI is calling for the implementation of masking requirements for all staff and students in all schools across the state and virtual instruction for schools in the purple and pink zones.

Many schools in and around Texarkana have closed temporarily or gone to web-based instruction.

"Because of the highly infectious omicron variant, COVID-19 is raging uncontrolled across our state," ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said in a dispatch. "Unfortunately, we need to endure some temporary disruptions in our daily lives so we can stop the virus' spread."

The previous record for school districts with 14-day COVID-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents was 201, which was reached last January and again in August.

Of the 226 districts with 14-day infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 residents, 61 districts have 50 to 99 new known infections per 10,000 residents (red on ACHI's map); 110 districts have 100 to 199 new known infections per 10,000 residents (purple); and 55 districts have 200 or more new known infections per 10,000 residents (pink).

As of Saturday, the following Southwest Arkansas school districts had infection rates of at least 50 new known infections per 10,000 district residents over the previous 14 days. An asterisk indicates that a district is new to the list this week.

Arkadelphia – rate of 200 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Ashdown – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Blevins*

Camden Fairview – rate of 200 or more new known infections per 10K residents

DeQueen* – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

El Dorado – rate of 200 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Foreman* – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Fouke*

Genoa Central*

Gurdon – rate of 200 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Hope – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Horatio – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Junction City – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Lafayette County* – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Magnolia – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Malvern – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Mineral Springs – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Nashville – rate of 200 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Prescott – rate of 200 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Smackover – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

South Pike County – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents

Spring Hill

The infection rates reported by ACHI are based on infections among community residents living within the geographical boundaries of each school district and not only on cases among school employees and students.

Known infections include confirmed and probable cases. Probable cases are based on verbal reporting and antigen test results, as identified by the Department of Health. Reported rates do not include results from at-home testing, thus the true level of infections is likely higher than that reported.

Infection rates and counts are not reported for districts with fewer than five reported infections to reduce the possibility of identifying individuals. School district counts do not include infections among incarcerated populations, in nursing homes, or in human development centers.

ACHI also updated the maps and tables on its website displaying vaccination rates by public school district, community, and ZIP code, using Department of Health data current as of Saturday. Twenty-three school districts have achieved vaccination rates of at least 50% of district residents, one of them over 60%: Bentonville, at 61%.

(ACHI is a nonpartisan, independent health policy center that serves as a catalyst for improving the health of all Arkansans through evidence-based research, public issue advocacy, and collaborative program development)

Print Headline: More COVID hits school districts in Southwest Arkansas

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