LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The state of Arkansas is adding 139 probable deaths due to COVID-19 to its data, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Tuesday.
Hutchinson said the 139 deaths will be characterized as “probable” tests as determined by the Arkansas Department of Health.
“Just like in our testing, where we had our PCR test and then we went to our antigen test that added those probable cases, the same thing is happening to our deaths,” Hutchinson said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a probable COVID-19 case or death is defined as:
- A person meeting clinical criteria AND epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19;
- A person meeting presumptive laboratory evidence AND either clinical criteria OR epidemiologic evidence;
- A person meeting vital records criteria with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19.
The probable deaths will be listed separately from the PCR-confirmed deaths, Hutchinson said.
Without including the probable cases, the death toll in Arkansas due to COVID-19 was 1003 as of Tuesday, September 15.
Hutchinson said he doesn’t think deaths have been accelerating since March.
“We’re adding deaths that should’ve been accounted for in the month of July or June or two weeks ago, so that’s throwing the daily number off,” Hutchinson said. “I’m frustrated by the system that has been changed by the CDC as to how you count these, but we’re trying to be very transparent with it.”
“We’re concerned about every death, but I don’t see that that’s accelerating. It’s just simply that we’re really accounting for deaths that have come in previously.”