JONESBORO — Craighead County had a 30 percent drop in new coronavirus infections over the past week and the number of active cases dropped by 20 percent, a Sun review of data from the Arkansas Department of Health revealed. However, the county recorded seven deaths compared to five the week before.
Neighboring counties had similar results, although Poinsett (15.3 percent) and Cross (5.8 percent) counties had smaller declines.
Craighead County averaged 67.7 new infections per day during the previous seven-day period. In August, the county was averaging more than 100 new cases per day.
On Monday, the beginning of The Sun’s reporting week, Craighead County had 61 new cases, the health department said. Greene County, which had an average of 38.6 new cases per day last week, recorded 16 new cases on Monday
Statewide, the health department reported 646 new cases Monday, but the number of active cases had declined by 1,767 to 17,821. Since the pandemic reached the state in March 2020, 7,298 people have died from complications from the disease, the health department said. None of Monday’s 31 deaths were attributed to Northeast Arkansas residents.
The number of hospitalizations as a result of the virus are also coming down, though more slowly.
Ty Jones, spokesman for NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, said 65 COVID patients were admitted, 15 of whom were on ventilators.
“At our current census, 88 percent of COVID patients within the hospital are unvaccinated,” Jones said.
Mitchell Nail, spokesman for St. Bernards Medical Center, said that hospital had 79 patients in house, including 19 on ventilators. The hospital had 99 on Sept. 8.
While patient numbers have dropped, the number of severe cases in the intensive care unit have not, Nail said, “and the number of patients who are needing ventilators is actually going up.”
The age of patients also continues to drop.
“We’re seeing more patients under the age of 50, more patients even under the age of 40 who are passing away from the virus, and that’s a difficult thing,” Nail said.
Northeast Arkansas COVID-19 cases by county Sept. 6 through Sunday:
Craighead – 474 new cases (decrease of 206 from last week); 1,029 active cases (decrease of 197); 219 deaths (increase of 7).
Greene – 270 new cases (decrease of 96) 519 active (decrease of 125; 100 deaths (increase of 3).
Lawrence – 119 new cases (decrease of 38); 228 active (unchanged); 47 deaths (increase of 1).
Poinsett – 150 new cases (decrease of 27); 264 active (increase of 6); 94 deaths (increase of 2).
Mississippi – 239 new cases (decrease of 89); 456 active cases (increase of 11); 122 deaths (increase of 4).
Jackson – 64 new cases (decrease of 34); 131 active cases (decrease of 19); 41 deaths (unchanged).
Randolph – 95 new cases (decrease of 37), 122 active cases (decrease of 73); 50 deaths (unchanged).
Cross – 81 new cases (decrease of 5), 127 active cases (decrease of 3); 58 deaths (unchanged).
Clay – 83 new cases (decrease of 32); 173 active cases (decrease of 51); 53 deaths (increase of 1).