Deaths of residents at the Beebe Retirement Center climbed to 17 in the latest nursing homes COVID-19 report from the Arkansas Department of Health. The report a week earlier had listed the retirement center as having 11 “expired residents.”

The total number of positive residents at the center also had increased to 71, according to Monday’s report, but 50 were listed as recovered, while four cases were active. The most recent positive resident was listed as Sept. 8. The retirement center reportedly also has had 44 positive health care workers/staff, with 39 recovered and five active, the most recent Oct. 6. Only one nursing facility in the state (the Randolph County Nursing Home) is listed in the current report as having as many resident deaths as Beebe.

On the COVID-19 educational report, Harding University tops the university list with 82 active cases, 14 cumulative faculty/staff cases, 128 cumulative student cases and 169 cumulative total.

Arkansas State University-Beebe is new to the list, which only lists educational institutions with five or more active cases. ASU-Beebe has five active student cases and 18 cumulative cases, according to the report.

The Searcy School District is the only public school in White County on the list, with 9 active cases, 6 cumulative faculty and staff cases, 25 cumulative student cases and a cumulative total of 31. Harding Academy is listed as having the most current active cases among private schools with 13. It has has 33 cumulative cases (7 staff, 26 students), according to the report.

Also, Beebe First Baptist Church reported on its Facebook page Tuesday that a few members have tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result some others have had to quarantine. “Please rest assured that none of the positive members attended church services this past Sunday (10-11-19). As a precautionary measure, Bro. Bob and the deacons have decided to cancel ALL services Wednesday (10-14-20) and ALL Sunday services (10-18-20).”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said this week that he has ruled out rolling back the state’s reopening despite a recent surge in coronavirus hospitalizations. The Department of Health reported 1,079 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday along with 23 new deaths. He did extend for another two months the emergency declaration he issued because of the novel coronavirus.

“There’s not really an option to go back on our opening of businesses,” Hutchinson said at his weekly news conference on the outbreak. “We’re way past that in Europe and the United States, here in Arkansas.”

Hutchinson, instead, said the focus needs to be on following the state’s mask mandate and other safety guidelines because of the virus.

He also said he’s discussed options with his public health team on further steps the state can take if its hospitalizations continue rising. He didn’t elaborate on them, but said some of them include public messaging about the state’s safety restrictions.

Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.

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