LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As thousands of people head out to celebrate the Independence Day weekend, the Arkansas Department of Health is worried the state could see more cases soon. 

According to the department of health 98 percent of the people who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. 

“We are seeing a marked increase in the number of new cases that have been diagnosed in the past several days,” Medial Director for Immunizations and Out Break Response for ADH Dr. Jennifer Dillaha said. 

Thursday Arkansas saw another spike in new and active COVID-19 cases.

“This is concerning to us because we know that the Delta variant that causes COVID-19 is now circulating in the state,” Dr. Dillaha said. 

The Delta Variant is much more contagious than any other variant in the state of Arkansas.

With the low vaccination rates that means more people are vulnerable. Health officials concerned holiday celebrations could add fuel to the fire.

“We anticipate that we will have a large number of cases, perhaps a serge that is beginning now, due to our low vaccination rates,” Dr. Dillaha said. 

Dr. Dillaha talked about their biggest concern right now. 

“It’s the unvaccinated people.” Dr. Dillaha said. 

Since January, 99 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the natural state were people who did not get vaccinated.

We asked what advice they would offer Arkansans ahead of the holiday weekend and going to gatherings.

“I would encourage everyone who is not fully vaccinated to wear a mask and practice social distancing when getting together with other people,” Dr. Dillaha said. “Don’t go places where there maybe a large number of people who may not be vaccinated and not wearing masks.” 

Health officials like Dr. Dillaha said its never too late to get vaccinated. She said people can still have fun this weekend but stick to just having family and friends around you.