The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Public Health has been tracking COVID-19 for state officials since March and recently released a predictive model for the state of Arkansas.
According to the UAMS predictive model, Arkansas will probably reach its peak in cases around late September and October.
“The peak number of cases that they are predicting is of a mean average, which is the solid red line, 133,000 total infections on September 30, 2020 with over 3,300 hospitalizations,” Gov. Hutchinson said at his daily press conference.
As of today (June 23), the state of Arkansas has 16,678 cumulative COVID-19 cases with 248 hospitalizations. There have been 125 ICU admissions. Smith noted yesterday that two-thirds of the state’s ventilator capacity is available.
However, the predictive model projects the mean-case estimates for the state of Arkansas on September 30 to be much higher with 133,056 cumulative cases and 3,326 hospitalizations. UAMS also projects that the average number of ICU admissions will be 997 and 698 ventilators will be needed.
The worst-case estimate projected by the UAMS predictive model is 251,834 cumulative cases with 6,295 hospitalizations by September 19.
According to Secretary of Health Nate Smith, the predictive model is “based on what we know about the virus, how it spreads and the conditions as they exist now.”
“It is very concerning to see that the way this virus spreads, and it can spread very quickly, could result in a large number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in our state,” he said.
“But we have also learned how to protect ourselves against COVID-19 and reduce the spread. The things I’m seeing right now are key to it — spacing six-feet or more apart, wearing masks when out in public. We know that when those things are in place, along with washing hands, avoiding if you’re symptomatic, etc., we know that we can really limit the spread of COVID-19 and even if there is someone who is infected, they won’t necessarily spread COVID-19 to other people.”
Hutchinson noted that the state’s goal is to change the current trajectory of the UAMS predictive model.
“You [can change the trajectory] by what the Department of Health is doing so well, which is going in, along with CDC, and doing massive amounts of testing. We do our contact tracing and then we do our isolation and we break up those chains of transmission,” Hutchinson said. “That is the objective and that is what we have to do.” He later added the individual responsibility Arkansans have to social distance and wear masks. “Everybody has a part to play,” he said.