LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson is encouraging Arkansans still passing on the opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine to do so now and saying the state is working make it easy and accessible.

During his weekly address Tuesday, the governor said he understands residents feel the immediate threat of the pandemic may be past, but he is still stressing for them to take action.

“We still have a challenge with vaccine hesitancy,” Hutchinson said. “I think the hesitancy is partly because the threat is perceived as being down.”

He encouraged employers to provide workers the time and opportunity to access the vaccine.

Hutchinson said Arkansans should continue to count on physicians and outpatient clinics, which have a growing number of vaccines available. He also continued to encourage rural residents to seek out their local sources for the vaccine.

Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said the number of variants in the state are increasing, noting that these cases are becoming more prevalent. He also said the medical community is seeing more children being hospitalized with the variants.

The state still has an ample supply of vaccine available, with 358,000 Pfizer doses, 288,000 Moderna doses and 70,000 Johnson and Johnson doses on hand. Hutchinson said this supply will give every remaining adult Arkansan the opportunity to receive the vaccine.

New ADH data shows 229 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the last 24 hours, moving the total number of cases during the pandemic to 334,998. The active case count rose by 39 to 1,844.

There were an additional five deaths reported, bringing the total number of Arkansans who have died from COVID-19 to 5,725.

An additional 13 patients were removed from the hospitalization list, moving that to 157 cases in the state. Of those, 26 patients require ventilation, with one being removed from the prior day.

According to new CDC data on Arkansas vaccinations, there have been a total of 2,494,780 doses received since vaccinations began with 1,661,921 doses given a rate of 66.6 percent administered.

Currently, there are 301,388 Arkansans who have been partially vaccinated, while 707,072 have been fully vaccinated.