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Hutchinson announced the state's plans to administer rapid results antigen testing in coming weeks to staff at public schools, staff at human development centers and staff for the Department of Corrections at his Oct. 14 briefing.

The tests provide results for specific viral antigens, which let those being tested know if a current viral infection is present, according to the CDC. They yield results in about 15 minutes without the need for a lab, Hutchinson said.

The state has received 100,000 of the kits from the government and should receive 50,000 more each week, Hutchinson

“This is a plan we can utilize at the state level, to really help us identify new cases in ways that we haven’t before,” Hutchinson said.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 1,278 new cases Oct. 15, the day after Hutchinson shared information on the tests, breaking the state’s previous single-day increase record of 1,265 on Oct. 8.

The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed 434 new cases Monday, for a total of 93,970 cumulative cases. That number rose by 4,920 in one week.

Hospitalizations spiked to 613 on Monday, up 41 in a day and five in a week. Statewide, 99 patients were on ventilators Wednesday, an increase of two in a day and a decrease of five in a week, according to the ADH.

Total confirmed deaths rose by 10 in a day and by 124 in a week, for a total of 1,562.

The ADH reported 7,450 active confirmed cases, a drop of 171 from the day before and an increase of 521 in a week. There were 84,770 confirmed recoveries reported, up 595 from Sunday and 4,274 in a week.

The ADH reported a cumulative total of 5,807 probable cases Monday, with 1,208 of those currently active. The number of probable deaths rose to 1,714, up 10 in a day and 172 in a week.

Washington County reported the third highest number of active county cases Monday, at 25, with Benton County following closely with 23 new cases, according to the ADH.

Washington County officials reported a total of 474 confirmed active cases, 118 probable active cases, 9,963 confirmed cumulative cases, and 926 probable cumulative cases Monday.

Benton County reported 326 confirmed active cases, 98 probable active cases, 7,133 confirmed cumulative cases and 499 probable cumulative cases.

Although active cases on the UA campus have remained low in recent weeks, Chancellor Jospeh Steinmetz announced an upcoming testing surge at his State of the University Address Oct. 14.

The plan is to kick off testing soon and test a minimum of 300 students per week, Steinmetz said. Both on- and off-campus students will be tested.

Active cases on the UA campus dipped from 43 to 24 during the Oct. 16-18 reporting period, according to the UA COVID-19 dashboard. The new number is the lowest reported on campus since the week of Aug. 17-23.

Of the active cases, 20 are students, three are staff members and one is categorized as other, which can include vendors, contractors and other non-university employees who have been on campus since Aug. 1.

There were four new cases and 23 recoveries reported Monday, for a total of 1,713 recoveries. There have been 10,389 tests performed on campus with 728 positive cases reported, for a cumulative positivity rate of 7%.

There are currently no pending tests. One positive result was identified through campus testing and two were self-reported, according to the data compilation spreadsheet linked to the dashboard. The compilation spreadsheet includes the fourth new case in the Active Others column.

Abbi Ross is the Editor in Chief of the Arkansas Traveler, where she previously worked as senior staff reporter.

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