The twice-monthly COVID-19 pandemic report from the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health predicts 72 more people will succumb to the virus by Nov. 30, six days away, over today’s total of 2,405. Confirmed and probably cases stand today at 148,312, which exceeds the forecast for Nov. 30, and Dean Mark Williams notes in a video released along with the report that as many people died in the first three months of the pandemic as in the two-week period Nov. 15-30.
The long-term forecast still puts the peak at the end of March or first of April, but cases should gradually decline through to the end of July.
New cases have been reported in every county; 14 doubled their cases between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1 and seven quadrupled their cases over those two weeks. Dallas County has experienced a 10-fold increase in cases, though per capita it was only 50 cases per 10,000 residents.
The short-term model for hospitalizations is 9,307 cumulatively by Nov. 30, which would be an increase of 15 percent over Nov. 15 if correct. As of today, that number is 8,620. The greatest number of hospitalizations will be in adults 60 to 74; the second highest in the 35-59 age group. In all but four counties, one of every 1,000 people has been hospitalized with COVID-19. In seven counties — Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Lee, Jefferson, Lincoln and Chicot — one of every 200 residents has been hospitalized for COVID-19. In Cross and Cleburne counties, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 cases is one in eight. Almost a fourth of all people over the age of 60 who test positive for the coronavirus will be hospitalized.
The report concludes that increasing numbers and hospitalizations bode ill for regional and rural hospitals, and that “the patterns of hospitalization observed for Cross and Cleburne counties will become the norm, rather that the exception, in the state.”