Health Officials Brace for Post-Christmas COVID Spike

Thursday, December 31, 2020

As the nation's healthcare workers brace themselves for a projected “Christmas spike” in COVID-19 cases, the numbers have stabilized somewhat in Northeast Arkansas the past week while other areas saw record numbers. Here in Clay County the rolling 14-day positivity rate was just over 14-percent, while the death toll climbed to 30 over the holiday weekend.

Although millions of doses of the two new vaccines have been administered the past two weeks, the increase in travel for the Christmas holiday is expected to push facilities to their limits. Statewide, the numbers have continued to climb steadily as the death toll has now eclipsed 3,600.

Statewide according to Wednesday's update, the total number of cases climbed to 222,430 up some 3,184 in the previous 24 hours. The number of active cases was set at 22,583, up 672 from the previous day, while the death toll climbed by 34. As of Wednesday, 3,637 deaths have been reported in Arkansas since the pandemic and health emergency began.

In Clay County the numbers are also on the rise, as total cases climbed from 1,224 last Tuesday to 1,306 by Wednesday afternoon. As of that report, a total of 109 of those were still active. And as earlier mentioned, the death toll climbed to 30, with 23 of those confirmed and the other seven as probable.

Despite the development of the new vaccines, officials note it will still be weeks, if not months, until they are made available widespread. They strongly recommend continued caution, especially in celebrating the New Year's holiday. The CDC and ADH also continue to urge all those who have come in contact with a person who has tested positive, or later tested positive, to be tested. Those individuals are also instructed to quarantine for 14 days, whether they get a negative test result or not, to help stem the spread of the virus.

Testing is being conducted at the Clay County Health Units, and at the Piggott Community Hospital COVID-19 testing clinic, located at the clinic in Rector. The Clay County Health Unit in Piggott may be reached by calling 870 598-3390 and the Rector Clinic may be reached by calling 870 595-3596.

The state and county figures are updated daily, and may be found on the ADH website at

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