Officials notified parents of two cases of COVID-19 detected in Ashley County’s public school districts  this week — one in each — but the schools have not seen further cases and overall Ashley County has a low active infection rate.

As of Tuesday night, Ashley County had 10 confirmed cases of the illness that were considered active. The county has seen a total 403 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

Of the total cases, 385 are now considered recovered, and eight have died. 

The Crossett School District first notified the public of the detection of a case of COVID-19 at Crossett High School on Sunday evening.

The notice — an open letter from Superintendent Gary Williams that was posted on the district’s Website and social media pages —said that the district had notified all probable close contacts of the patient.

“If you have not been contacted you do not meet the criteria based on the information provided to the district,” Williams wrote.

Classes have continued in all CSD buildings since the publication.

“We appreciate the work and cooperation of our students, staff, and parents during this situation Williams said in the notice. “Again, if you have not been contacted you are not considered a Probable Close Contact. Please monitor our website and social media for updates as they become available.”

In Hamburg, the positive case was an employee at Albritton Elementary School.

Superintendent Tracy Streeter wrote in the notice that all of the employee’s probable close contacts had been notified. 

The notice was published Monday on the Hamburg School District Website, on social media and in a letter to parents.

“The proper steps have been taken in notifying the Arkansas Department of Health and we have received protocol (...) to follow,” the letter said. “Chris Hammond, our Point of Contact, is working with ADH and continues to receive guidance.”

Classes continued in all Hamburg school buildings Tuesday.

“I would like to publicly commend Albritton Elementary for the steps that have been taken to slow down the spread,” Streeter wrote in the notice. “I cannot say enough about the work and the precautions that have been done by the staff of Hamburg School District. It has shown, in the number of cases we have had and in the slowness of the spread, that HSD has followed the guidelines to prevent the spread.”

Streeter said the district cannot legally disclose more information at this time, but that if circumstances change and there is more to report, the district will do so.

“Please know the safety of our students and staff is our first priority,” she said. “This is not something we are taking lightly.”

Statewide, Arkansas has seen a total of 70,125 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,232 probable cases. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines probable cases as cases in which a person meets clinical criteria and epidemiologic evidence of having COVID but does not have laboratory confirmation.

Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state was going to start including probable COVID cases in its official counts, which it has not done in the past. 

That inclusion added 139 previously uncounted probable COVID deaths to the state total.

Of the confirmed cases of the illness in the state, 64,342 are considered recovered. A total of 5,703 are considered active, and 298 probable cases are considered active. 

The state crossed the 1,000-death threshold Tuesday, and as of that evening 1,010 people had died from complications arising from the illness.

Across the United States, approximately 196,000 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 this year.

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