ARKANSAS, USA — Using data from the Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) released new data Thursday, Jan. 20, showing the rapid spread of COVID-19 in all 234 public school districts in the state. Thursday's update depicts a first for the state. All public school districts show infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over 14 days.
It's important to note that ACHI's report does not detail the number of cases going through Arkansas public schools but rather the infection rates in the communities where they reside.
A color scale depicts infection rates in a map released by ACHI. Last week, ACHI added a new color, pink, in response to infection rates surpassing its previous benchmark.
"Every school district being in red, purple, or pink on our map means that COVID-19 is spreading uncontrolled in all our communities," said ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson. "In nearly three-fourths of the districts, at least 2% of the local population is infected. In four districts, more than 5% of the population, or one out of every 20 people, is newly infected."
The rise in COVID-19 cases, tied to the highly-contagious omicron variant, has forced many schools to temporarily pivot to virtual learning as the struggle to manage staffing shortages persists.
While Arkansas remains to peak in new infections and hospitalizations from COVID-19, larger metropolitans impacted by omicron ahead of the Natural State are beginning to see a drop in cases.
To read ACHI's full report, follow this link.
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