UAMS models predict 100,000 active cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas by November

COVID-19 infection rates in the state of Arkansas could peak in November with around 100,000 active cases, according to new modeling released by UAMS this week.

The new projections, created by the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at UAMS and updated every two weeks, are based on data provided by the Arkansas Department of Health through July 13.

Associate Dean for Research, Ben Amick presented the most recent models in a video posted on YouTube on Tuesday.

Amick said short-term projections indicate just short of 40,000 cumulative cases in the state by July 28, and officials are predicting “a sharp increase in cases over the next two weeks.”

If everything says the same, Amick said, projections indicate around 100,000 active cases in the state of Arkansas by November 24th of this year, with anywhere from 50,000-170,000 active cases predicted in the “95% confidence zone (shown below in red.)

Image: Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health

Using a moving-mean model, UAMS projections indicate 103,652 active cases by Nov. 26, with COVID-19 patients occupying 2,591 hospital beds in the state, with 777 patients in ICU requiring 543 ventilators.

“Worst case” estimates indicate a projected peak of 168,570 cases in November, with patients occupying over 4200 hospital beds, including more than 1200 patients in the ICU. The worst case model indicates 884 ventilators will be needed. The worst case project, however, has only a 5% chance of occurring, Amick said.

Image: Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health

Data shows that African-American and Latinx Arkansans are being disproportionally affected by COVID-19, he said. In positive cases per 10,000 population in the state, African-Americans make up almost double (93) the positive cases than white Arkansans (48.4), with cases of Latinx Arkansans coming in at more than 6 times (303.3) those of white Arkansans.

Image: Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health

Doctor Cam Patterson, UAMS Chancellor said that the executive order regarding the mandatory wearing of masks in public recently implemented by Governor Asa Hutchinson is a step in the right direction, however, and is hopeful the mandate could have a positive effect on future projections.

“We at UAMS support this decision, and are extremely grateful to (the governor) for taking this important step which we believe will help save lives,” Patterson said. “We are hopeful that this thoughtful action will have an impact on data, and likewise, our projections going forward, and that we’ll start to see a flattening of the curve over the next few weeks.”