By Mary Hennigan
Labor Day cookouts and crowds at high school and college football games led state officials and health experts to believe COVID-19 infections would jump across the state, but active cases have been decreasing since Sept. 4, according to Arkansas Department of Health data.
In the last two weeks, statewide active cases have dropped 42% and totaled 16,695 on Sept. 16.
“At this time, we’re not seeing a dramatic increase,” José Romero, Arkansas secretary of health said Tuesday. “We are hopeful that we’re going to make it through that holiday without having a large number of cases.”
COVID-19 testing since Sept. 4 topped 10,000 daily tests all but twice, Sept. 6 and 13, which were reports for Sundays. This dip in weekend testing has been recurring in Arkansas’s data for months.
The positive test rate has ranged from 5% to 13% in the last two weeks, lower than most of August’s rates, which stayed pretty consistent in the mid-teens until the end of the month when it lowered. Romero and public health experts say use of at-home COVID-19 tests, widely available in stores now, may account for the decline in reported tests.
Vaccinations during September have averaged about 7,800 doses given daily so far, with a few reports as low as 2,540.
–Rachell Sanchez-Smith contributed to this report