White House Task Force: Arkansas ranks 2nd in new virus deaths per capita

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The state of Arkansas ranks second in the nation in new COVID-19 deaths per capita, according to a White House Coronavirus Task Force report dated October 11.

Using data collected from October 3-9, the Natural State ranks behind only North Dakota in new deaths per 100,000 over the last week.

According to the report, there were 138 COVID-19 deaths in Arkansas during the time period for a rate of 4.6 per 100,000.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force also included cases and test positivity by month in the back of the packet presented to Governor Asa Hutchinson. The state has neglected to make the reports public, but they are routinely published by The Center for Public Integrity.

“These demonstrate the impact of comprehensive mitigation efforts when implemented effectively, and that partial or incomplete mitigation leads to prolonged community spread and increased fatalities,” the Task Force said in its recommendations to the state.

Arkansas is in the red zone for new cases, with the 11th highest rate in the country. The state remains in the yellow zone for test positivity, ranking 20th with a rate between 5.0 percent and 7.9 percent.

The following three counties had the most new cases over the past three weeks: Pulaski County, Washington County, and Benton County, representing together 25.4 percent of the new cases in Arkansas.

Arkansas’ national average of 183 new cases per 100,000 population in the last week compares to a national average of 100 per 100,000.

According to the task force, the majority of new cases in Arkansas are “from interactions at home with friends and family. Arkansans should know that such gatherings must be limited in size and include both masks and social distancing.”

“Retail establishments are enforcing mitigation efforts by adjusting their businesses so very few transmissions occur in those settings,” the report states.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said on Tuesday that rolling back the state’s reopening is “not really an option.”

Hutchinson announced 1079 new COVID-19 cases and 21 additional deaths due to the virus in the Arkansas on Wednesday.

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