Volume crashed the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement website this afternoon after Director Dr. Joe Thompson announced that data on COVID-19 infections by city could be found there.
Thompson announced the new information at the governor’s regular COVID-19 update at the Capitol this afternoon. He said ACHI and the state Department of Health reversed course on releasing city data once concerns over potential violations of HPPA privacy law were satisfied and in response to mayors who said they needed the information to better protect their towns.
The site, now working, provides cumulative data on infections in cities that have had 10 or more cases and a rate per 100 people, as of July 9. Thompson said the site would post the number of active cases once ACHI and ADH “harmonize the definition of active,” a point which calls for a follow-up.
The site also includes a “COVID Local Risk Index” for Little Rock, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Springdale and Fayetteville, ranking areas of risk within the city limits. The index measures risk by such factors as age, race, housing, income and underlying health conditions. The site notes that “COVID-19 has shown how health inequalities affect disadvantaged groups and black communities across the U.S.” For example, Blacks make up only 16 percent of Arkansas’s population but 30 percent of the deaths. Thus the risk index map of Little Rock shows the highest areas of illness in the southern half of city, with Northwest Little Rock faring the best.
The health department tracks data by county only. It also releases information on hospital bed occupancy on a statewide and (infrequently) regional basis, and infections in congregate settings (nursing homes, prisons, human development centers and other in-patient facilities) and workplaces. The department has not released cases at summer camps because, according to outgoing Director Dr. Nate Smith, they are occupied only temporarily and campers come and go according to sessions. One camp, Ozark, closed this summer because of infections. Another camp, Winnamocka, has also informed parents of several cases discovered after an outgoing camper tested positive.
Today’s COVID-19 Update from the ADH is here. Here’s today’s data on hospital occupancy:
Current Hospitalizations: 464Total Beds: 9,036
Total Beds Available: 2,312Total ICU Beds: 981Total ICU Beds Available: 159
Total Vents: 1,038Total Vents Available: 679
Total COVID patients in ICU: 219Total COVID patients on vents: 97