200911- COVID Press - Mena
9:38PM Sep 11, 2020
Governor Asa Hutchinson
Dr. Jose Romero
My man Want to welcome you to the September 11, daily COVID update for Mena, Arkansas, turn it over to the governor of Arkansas, the Honorable aisa Hutchinson.
Thank you, Mayor, that was mayor Sam Smith. We've had a wonderful time here in Mena. Today meeting with a community meet leaders, legislators talking about both the education in our school start, as well as the economy here met with a hospital administrator. So again, another very instructive time here in Maine and it's great to be back and I'm on the campus of course of the University of Arkansas rich mountain that gave me this mass today and it's wonderful to be on this beautiful campus here. You Maina. And I first want to acknowledge that today is 911, remembering the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States that caused the tragic death of 3000 Americans. And I know that everybody has is remembering that occasion today. And it was a really a turning point in our country that changed life for for us. And it's important for us to remember that, that attack and purpose ourselves to make sure that we protect ourselves for the future. Whenever we met today with the schools, I was impressed with a couple of things and we met with the MENA school district but many of the other surrounding school districts and one Superintendent said that they were surprised But that this was the best school start that they've had. And they talked about the students how resilient they are, how they're working hard to make sure that they follow the guidelines and they're loving, loving school this year, and that those that signed up for virtual education there, many of them are shifting back over to in classroom instruction whenever they see the safety measures in place. And so that was just an instructive comment by the school superintendents. And then, you know, in meeting with the mayor and the county judge, talking about the economy here, and the resilience of it, how the small businesses are, are doing well, they're innovating. And so all of that was encouraging news to us today. I am delighted to be joined by Dr. Jose Romero today. And then let me go to our case report. And let me start with Here in Mina in Polk County, we have 16 active cases. And in today's report, you have an additional two positive cases here in Polk County. And you have a 6.9% positivity rate, which is relatively low compared to the rest of the state. And so I want to applaud the leadership here, and how you've embraced the necessity of testing. You've worked in partnership with each other. And here at the UVA rich Mountain College, how they have really adapted in terms of their student body in all of their activities to make sure they have the right safe precautions in place. Now, now let me go statewide to our report today, and we have an additional 1107 cases in the last 24 hours. And yes, for those of you that Pay attention. That is a record number of, of new cases in a 24 hour period. And if you look back, and we'll see that when we go to the graphs, but this is something that I actually expected when you have a number of lower days that you're going to have a spike at one point, you don't want it to be that high. But if you remember, last Friday, we had over 1000 new cases as well. So we'll see where it goes from here. But a couple points on that new 1107 cases of that number 225 positives came from one lab that brought them in in one day, and one third from that lab. The cases were from last week. And so you're going to see that when you're dealing with commercial labs, that they might send a large number in 124 hour period versus getting them periodically Each day, and that's why that seven day rolling average is the most instructive in terms of where we are because that averages in smoothes those spikes out.
We have no new hospitalizations. So we remain at 392. We do have sadly 13 new deaths. That brings us to 953 deaths as a result as a result of COVID-19. And testing. This is a very robust strong Testing Day with 7801 tests that were performed over the last 24 hours. That's a strong showing, and it actually gives us the opportunity to do our contact tracing on a broader number of positive cases. That helps us to stop the spread to reduce the potential for spread. In terms of antigen test, we We had 459 antigen test, that of those 78 were positive 381 were negative. That's a 20.5% positivity, right? If we go to the graphs, we see again that that last bar graph shows the high point in terms of new cases in a 24 hour period. And you can see the last one was exactly one week ago on the seven day rolling average. Now, you know, on the rolling average, we've gone down because we've been going down for the last four or five days now because of this spike. it'll pick back up a little bit in the coming days, but there's the rolling average. And then the hospitalizations as you can see, remains flat below 400 next this is the seven day rolling average of posit positive case, cases in Arkansas are positive test. Again, the 10% level we want to stay below. And you can see yesterday those last few bar graphs were lower, but they get filled in because you get some of the test results that come in over that period of time. But it is still below the 8% positivity right the last few days. And then here, this is always instructive to me, where we're getting the tests that come in. And the white is the Department of Health lab that really worked hard last 24 hours with a strong showing on tests. And then you can see the high number in the red. That takes us well over 7000 in our test. So it was a very good Testing Day. And this is the antigen test. As you can see it's a higher positivity rate on our antigen test, that these are people that want a quick turnaround on the test, they are feeling ill they want to get a response. And those are higher level of positivity. And this, let's go to the regions when I'm out in a particular part of the state, I want to go through the regions and we are in the southwest region. And these are the different public health regions. You got southeast, Southwest, you've got Northwest and northeast and Central. And then let's go to the next one that shows us the rate of growth of cases by public health region. Now, I will emphasize this is from August 30, to September five by public health region. So it's a little bit of old data, but it's still relevant, and we can see in the southwest that we're next to the last And growth rate in public health regions with the highest one being in the northwest because of the university to a large extent coming back. And then this is the growth rate that tells you the percent of growth. And this is down by county in the southwest region. And so in yellow is highlighted the growth rate here in Polk County, and that's 4.5%. You contrast that to Montgomery County, which is high, but it's smaller number of cases through that. You can look down in Clark County arkadelphia area a little bit higher. Lafayette county is a higher percent rate. You got to look at the raw numbers really to see put those in perspective. But you can see that Polk County is holding its own doing well. And then
this is the growth rate by age group and it's always Interesting to see the top age group for cases in the southwest region is 25 to 44. But you also have zero to 17 growth rate 18 to 24 growth rate, the smallest growth rate is is 65. Plus, why is that? Because they're very careful. They're most at risk, they're more careful. And we're glad to see that growth rate lower than the rest. And these are the this is the seven day rolling average of new cases in the South Korea's West region. And this is through September 10. So this is much more current data. And you can see it's very flat. It's very flat, which we hope that that will come down but that shows the southwest region looking pretty good. The number of hospital hospitalized is lower than the peak. It's been level. That's good news. For our hospitals in the southwest region, and then this looks at all of the different regions together in terms of their trend lines with the top line in the orange of the Northwest. We've made some progress there. And this is through September 10, as well. The Southwest is the green. That's the lowest fare. So you could see yourself in comparison with the other regions, public health regions. The red is the South East a little bit higher than that. Central Arkansas, of course, is the yellow. And so all of them are trending the right direction, but obviously it's going to be a challenge in the northwest with the university back in our higher education. I think that looks like that completes it. With that. Let me turn it over to Dr. Romero for his comments. And then we can take questions
Thank you, Governor. So I will add a little bit more detail to the numbers presented by the governor. As mentioned, there were total of 67,911 cases. I want to point out that 12.9% nearly 13% of those cases came from colleges and universities. Again pointing to the that age group as a as a contributor, Major, significant contributor to the numbers. We currently have 5713 active cases of the tests that were performed in the last 24 hours. The governor mentioned it was 7801 2444 of those cases were from the health department 4957 from commercial laboratories, and ua ms contributed 400. To date, we have an additional 577 our Kansans recovered giving us a total number of 61,245. ventilator use continues to decrease, we had a decrease of three individuals. So we're now with 76 individuals using a ventilator. And again that bodes well in case we need to use them in the future. The top counties due to the increased number of cases we have down 10 counties above 20 equal equal to or above 20 cases. So in decreasing order, Pulaski County at 105, Washington County at 91, Craighead County at 61 Benton at 52 Sebastian county at 51 Jefferson County at 47. Crawford County at 35. Faulkner 25. Garland county at 24 and lastly, Carroll County. So I'll stop there and turn this back over to the governor Thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Romero. And with that, we'll take any questions.
Governor, this is Andrew with AP. Yes. I
want to ask you a couple questions, I guess. First, on the the increase we're seeing today you previously said that
you didn't think it was time to look at additional restrictions unless we started seeing, you know, multiple days in a row of your thousand cases. If if we are getting to a point where we're hitting a new record on a regular basis like this, is that is would that be a cause for alarm or cause for looking at changing strategy or change changing the approach on this? And the second question I had was, want to see if you were Dr. America talk about are you getting any sense of progress in terms of dealing with the growth In cases on college campuses, call it college age cases. And if there's not progress there, what what else needs to be looked at?
Thank you, Andrew. And in reference to your first part of your question, Dr. Romero and his health department team, and myself, we consider every option on the table as needed as a tool. And we make decisions based upon the data where it's coming from, and what action should be taken. And I certainly if you have multiple good days of 1000 Plus, then we're going to sit down and look at is there any additional action that can be taken, it could be in the area of contact tracing, it could be in concentrating our testing in a particular breakout area. So it all really depends on what we see as to where those cases are coming from, you don't want to take action broadly in terms of restrictions and businesses, if they're not related to an increase in in cases. So we're going to continue to make those judgments day in and day out based upon what we see as to the reasons for it and, and what to action would make sense in that situation. In terms of the college campuses, we have to understand that sometimes our data is a little bit delayed, you know, the antigen testing that might happen in the in the local area and the college campus, or the PCR test might be a day late in getting in. And so we're continuing to evaluate that at this time. From what from what I see is that the university and higher education more broadly, is making the right decisions. They're taking the right actions and I have some confidence that that's going to make a difference. We'll continue to look at it and to see if anything additional should be done. Or for conversations we should have with the higher ed leadership. Our Premier, do you have anything to add to that? Next question.
Remember, this is Chad Mira with NWA news. A couple questions. One, I was hoping Dr. Romero could clarify something for us. I believe he said it was 13% of the cases were from college communities is that 13% of today's new cases or 13% of a cumulative number as hoping you could clarify that for us. And then also, can you give us a sense of how we should interpret that that number 13% of cases from colleges, is that proportionate to what is that about what we would expect is that high would we like to see that percentage lower proportionate to the rest of the population and so on. Sure, thank you very much. I'm sorry for leaving that somewhat ambiguous at the beginning. It is 13% of today's total number. So so how do we compare that? Well, a several days ago, and I do not have the exact number, the percentage of the number of positive tests from colleges and universities was higher, contributing to the total, so it's down. That's a good indicator. As the governor indicated, our data is not real time in that day. Sometimes we get this data a little later. So we'll wait and see where it's going. But this 13% or 912 percent is less than it was in a previous reading.
Any other question?
And this is Andy Davis with the democratic.
And I just want to ask on the increase today, how concerned are you buying And you think this could be related to labor day activities?
We've actually had that conversation with Dr. Romero. And that is a possibility. I think it's a little bit early to say whether these are connected to labor day activities. But that's possible. And so that's what we want to continue to look at in terms of what we see in the coming days. Do a deeper dive on this information? You know, it it. You asked me if I'm surprised by it. I think you heard me say on Monday, when we were having very low numbers that I wouldn't be surprised. In fact, I actually expect a spike and we see that pattern that will go for a number of days with declining and lower numbers and then it'll shoot up. This is a high shoot up, but it was also over at Thousand last Friday. So I think we, I don't want to minimize it. But at the same time, you can't overreact to one day's data. You just want to take a deep dive into it. So we'll continue to look at that. Did you have any else Dr. Merrill?
Any other governors, Josh, Wigan, K, Kitt and jonesborough. It's something that I noted was we're starting to see fewer and fewer people on ventilators. Is that are we getting better at catching it? Are we catching it earlier to where it doesn't get to that point where it infects the lungs so poorly that you have to do ventilators or kind of what what's the thinking on the continued decrease?
I'll Dr. Mehra I'm sure has a comment on that. But you know, if you see the younger, the healthier, that are part of our positive cases, there's gonna be Lower percent hospitalized, which means lower percent that would ultimately might be on a ventilator. So I think that is a factor. And I hope that it is the case that we have better therapeutics as well. And better treatment we learned Dr. Romero.
So the governor's usual has stolen a lot of my thunder. He is correct, that these, the number of cases we're seeing are more in the in the younger ages age group, and that may be contributing to that. Let me make a parenthetical on that a Harvard study did show that even though you are young, you're still at risk. 20% of those individuals required hospitalizations 10% required ventilatory support. So being young in itself does not does not prevent you from having severe disease. The governor is right we have better therapeutics today than we did several months ago. You know, we now are using steroids. Were you using remdesivir convalescent plasma is also being used for These patients and they're being used early in therapy, whether they will, in the long run, be proven to be effective. We're not sure, but those are possible possibilities. So I think that it's multifactorial. And certainly the the fact that we're making the public aware of the significance of this disease, that they're coming in earlier because the later you come in and your disease, the less effective therapy is, as with any viral disease, you want to try to treat it early if possible, and and and the earlier you treated, potentially the better outcome. Thank you.
Dr. Merrill, let me assure you, you improved on my answer.
Any other question? Let me make a concluding comment. First of all, there was some national story about restaurants being a potential source of increased number of cases. Dr. Romero And I looked at the statistics again, which we look at every week. And we have a very low percent of cases, for example, of those that are positive, we ask if you've been to a restaurant the last 14 days, only 4% identify with that, as compared to 13% have been to retail stores. And so it just, I want to remark that I believe our restaurants are really, really working hard to comply with the guidelines to make sure their environment is safe for their customers, they know that's important for their business model. And so I wanted to make that distinction. And then I wanted to just thank again, the mayor, the Chancellor here at rich mountain for incredible hosting of this event today. And and then we have our legislators that are here, representing Marcus Richmond and represent JOHN maddix that have been very supportive of this today their community, and certainly in providing the funding that is needed to fight this COVID. With that, thank you, and we hope everybody has a safe and wonderful weekend. Thank you.