COVID-19 in Arkansas: Gov. Hutchinson shares look back at first year of vaccinations

State News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson used his weekly news briefing Tuesday to mark one year since COVID-19 vaccination efforts began in the state of Arkansas.

The governor shared a snapshot of data comparing Tuesday’s figures with the same day in 2020, showing that vaccines had helped new cases to be just over half and active cases to be just over a third of last year’s numbers.

Hutchinson also shared that 1.8 million Arkansans had taken 3.6 million doses of vaccines in the last year.

While appreciative of the Arkansans who had taken the vaccine, Hutchinson and Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero encouraged those who had not gotten the shot to consider vaccinations, noting that Arkansas had seen two surges in hospitalizations in 2021 and that numbers were trending back up.

The Arkansas Department of Health data shared by the governor showed there were 782 new cases of COVD-19 Tuesday, moving up the state’s pandemic total to 539,483. The number of active cases fell by 65 to 7,323, and health officials added 15 deaths to the state total, which now sits at 8,880.

Hospitalizations continued a slow climb upward, moving up eight to 518. There are 102 patients on ventilators, a drop of one from the previous day.

The daily increase in vaccinations jumped back up after weekend slowdowns, with 15,759 doses being administered in the last 24 hours. There are now 1,478,547 Arkansans who are fully immunized from COVID-19, with another 337,862 being partially immunized.

Romero advised that people planning their holiday gatherings should make sure the others attending have been vaccinated. He also suggested making sure gathering spaces were well ventilated and recommended that anyone who feels ill to get tested to make sure they were keeping others safe.

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Hutchinson started the news briefing by announcing a new expansion of a program designed to help with Medicaid waivers to get services to Arkansans with developmental and mental disabilities. The expansion should cover much of the backlog currently experienced with the system.

The governor also discussed the recovery efforts in northeast Arkansas following Friday’s deadly tornadoes. Hutchinson said FEMA teams should be on the ground Wednesday morning who would be assessing property damage in order to determine what level of federal support will be available.

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