New COVID graphic

Tuesday marked one year since the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered to Arkansans, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson touted the difference between 2020 and 2021's active cases and hospitalizations during his weekly press briefing.

On Dec. 14, 2020, Arkansas had more than 20,000 active COVID-19 cases and was still at the beginning of a winter coronavirus surge. On Tuesday, there were 7,323 active cases in the state. The 518 hospitalized Arkansans as of Tuesday amounted to fewer than half the number on the same day last year — 1,050.

Additionally, there have been about 2,700 fewer statewide deaths from COVID-19 recorded in 2021 than in 2020, Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said.

“If we take into consideration that, conservatively, 70-80% of those deaths could have been prevented if they were vaccinated, we need to get our population fully vaccinated,” Romero said.

Statewide, active COVID-19 cases fell by 65 in a day and 91 in a week, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Total cumulative cases increased by 782 Tuesday, for a total of 539,483. That number rose by 4,893 in a week.

The ADH reported 15 new deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday. The additional deaths bring the toll in Arkansas to 8,880, up 104 in a week.

Hospitalizations in Arkansas rose to 518 Tuesday, up by eight in a day and 62 in a week, according to the ADH. Statewide, 102 patients were on ventilators Tuesday, a decrease of one from Monday but an increase of 17 from Dec. 7.

State health officials had administered nearly 3.57 million vaccine doses to Arkansans by Tuesday, according to the ADH, with 337,862 people partially immunized and almost 1.48 million people fully immunized. Officials administered 15,759 new doses — including third and booster doses — between Monday and Tuesday, with 75,467 administered in a week.

The nearly 1.48 million fully vaccinated Arkansans represent 52% of the state’s 5-and-up population. Almost 65% of Americans 5 and older have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eighty percent of Arkansas’ vaccine supply — over 4.46 million doses — had been administered by Tuesday.

Washington County officials reported 46,393 total cumulative cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Benton County reported 44,831 total cumulative cases, according to the ADH. Total cumulative cases in the two counties increased by 293 and 400, respectively, in a week.

There were 13 active COVID-19 cases on the UA campus during last week’s reporting period, according to the Pat Walker Health Center COVID-19 Dashboard. Of the active cases, six were students and seven were staff.

PWHC officials recorded 15 new cases last week, 10 of which were self-reported and five of which were identified through on-campus testing. An additional 397 tests came back negative, for a weekly positivity rate of 1.2%.

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