In its November 15 report on Arkansas, the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned that the coronavirus situation is worsening.

The state is on the ‘precipice of a rapid, accelerating increase in cases which will be followed with new hospital admissions,” the report reads.

“That’s a statement that will get your attention as a leader,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday at his weekly Covid-19 update. “We look at the holiday season that is approaching and we have to be mindful that if Arkansas continues at the present pace—over the last two days—then Arkansas will have an additional 1,000 Arkansans that will die as a result of Covid-19 between now and Christmas.

Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero echoed that warning.

“This is like a boulder rolling down a hill, there will come a time when you cannot stop it,” Romero said. “It will continue to escalate and will eventually overwhelm our health care facilities.”

The state had an additional 1,554 confirmed and probable cases on Tuesday and the number of deaths attributed to the virus increased by 24 to 2,245. The number of hospitalizations increased by 34 to 895, a new record.

The growth rate, by percentage, is highest in Northeast Arkansas where the growth rate is 10.4 percent. The lowest growth rate is lowest in Southeast Arkansas where the growth rate is 5.9 percent, according to a graph Hutchinson presented at his weekly update.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended, among other things, limiting restaurant indoor capacity in “red and orange” counties where cases and positivity rates are higher.

“If you put the restrictions back down to one-third you would be shutting down a whole bunch of businesses,” Hutchinson said. “They’re there by a thread in some cases. They have managed with a two-thirds capacity, which is already limited, and if you cut that back further you’re going to be putting a lot of them under water and you’re going to be putting a lot of people unemployed.”

Hutchinson said the compliance team will be “ramping up” checks on restaurants.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force report also recommended that Arkansas consider pausing athletic activities due to events that occur before and after games.

“We don’t plan on canceling athletics,” Hutchinson said. “I think that would be terrible for the health of our young people. So that we plan on continuing but we will look at other ways to better control that environment.”

Covid-19 Cases in Southeast Arkansas

ASHLEY COUNTY

Total Cumulative Cases: 696
Confirmed Cases: 637
Probable Cases: 59

Total Active Cases: 89
Active Confirmed Cases: 68
Active Probable Cases: 21

Total Recovered Cases: 594
Recovered  Confirmed Cases: 556
Recovered Probable Cases: 38

Total Deaths: 13
Confirmed Deaths: 13
Probable Deaths: 0

BRADLEY COUNTY

Total Cumulative Cases: 401
Confirmed Cases: 379
Probable Cases: 22

Total Active Cases: 23
Active Confirmed Cases: 13
Active Probable Cases: 10

Total Recovered Cases: 370
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 359
Recovered Probable Cases: 11

Total Deaths: 8
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 1

Total Deaths: 8
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 1

CHICOT COUNTY

Total Cumulative Cases: 1,104
Confirmed Cases: 1,079
Probable Cases: 25

Total Active Cases: 40
Active Confirmed Cases: 33
Active Probable Cases: 7

Total Recovered Cases: 1,040
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 1,023
Recovered Probable Cases: 17

Total Deaths: 24
Confirmed Deaths: 23
Probable Deaths: 1

CLEVELAND COUNTY

Total Cumulative Cases: 307
Confirmed Cases: 260
Probable Cases: 47

Total Active Cases: 31
Active Confirmed Cases: 18
Active Probable Cases: 13

Total Recovered Cases: 262
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 229
Recovered Probable Cases: 33

Total Deaths: 14
Confirmed Deaths: 13
Probable Deaths: 1

DESHA COUNTY

Total Cumulative Cases: 488
Confirmed Cases: 452
Probable Cases: 36

Total Active Cases: 40
Active Confirmed Cases: 33
Active Probable Cases: 7

Total Recovered Cases: 440
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 412
Recovered Probable Cases: 28

Total Deaths: 8
Confirmed Deaths: 7
Probable Deaths: 1

DREW COUNTY

Total Cumulative Cases: 532
Confirmed Cases: 472
Probable Cases: 60

Total Active Cases: 66
Active Confirmed Cases: 43
Active Probable Cases: 23

Total Recovered Cases: 459
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 423
Recovered Probable Cases: 36

Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 1

Total Deaths: 7
Confirmed Deaths: 6
Probable Deaths: 1

LINCOLN COUNTY

Total Cumulative Cases: 2,365
Confirmed Cases: 2,335
Probable Cases: 30

Total Active Cases: 15
Active Confirmed Cases: 11
Active Probable Cases: 4

Total Recovered Cases: 2,332
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 2,307
Recovered Probable Cases: 25

Total Deaths: 18
Confirmed Deaths: 17
Probable Deaths: 1

— Source: Arkansas Department of Health