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LITTLE ROCK — Eighty-eight Arkansas school districts have had 50 or more new known COVID-19 infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, up from 48 districts a week earlier, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said Thursday.

Fifty-one school districts were added to the list this week, and 37 remained on the list.

Only one was from Southwest Arkansas: De Queen.

Eleven districts that were in the "red zone" a week earlier have dropped below that level this week, including several in this region: Blevins, Fouke, Horatio, Lafayette County, Nashville and Prescott.

Texarkana and Nevada are also no longer on the red zone list.

ACHI — which bills itself as a nonpartisan, independent health policy center — identified school districts with high infection rates by analyzing data received Monday from the Arkansas Department of Health. The infections are among community residents living within the geographical boundaries of the school districts and are not specific to 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.

ACHI identifies districts with 50 to 99 new known infections per 10,000 residents as being in the red zone and districts with 100 or more new known infections per 10,000 residents as being in the "purple zone." The districts are shaded in these colors on the school district map on ACHI's COVID-19 in Arkansas web page.

No districts in the part of Southwest Arkansas were red or purple zones, other than De Queen.

Rates and counts are not shown for districts with fewer than five 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.

"This huge increase in school districts with high rates of infection among residents is deeply concerning," said ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson.

Dr. Thompson said these infection rates are especially troubling with Thanksgiving just a week away.

— From Staff, ACHI Reports

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