As new COVID-19 cases across Arkansas continue on a record decline, a shrinking demand for the vaccine has left state health officials struggling to use the 784,000 remaining available doses.
The Arkansas Department of Health recorded 61 new COVID-19 cases Monday, marking the 59th consecutive day that new cases have been below 500. Confirmed and probable active cases in Arkansas totaled 1,939 Monday, a decrease of 116 in a day and 134 in a week. Active cases had been falling steadily since a January 9 peak of 27,822 until late March, when they began to remain stagnant at around 2,000.
The 61 new cases are well below the seven-day average of 200, according to Arkansas Covid. Total cumulative cases rose to 336,166, an increase of 1,397 from April 26.
While new cases are on the decline, so is demand for vaccines. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in his weekly press conference last Tuesday that supply is not a problem, and that vaccine hesitancy is hindering the state’s ability to reach herd immunity.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us to get there in the short term,” Hutchinson said.
The state has received more than 2.5 million doses, according to the ADH, 69% of which have actually been administered.
Of the population aged 16 and older, 32% of Arkansans are fully vaccinated while an additional 11.5% are partially immunized, according to the ADH. More than one million Arkansans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 760,781 of them fully vaccinated.
Hospitalizations rose to 172, an increase of one in a day and two in a week. Twenty-nine patients were on ventilators, up three in a day and two in a week.
The ADH reported four new deaths from confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Monday, an increase of two in a week. The death toll is now 5,747.
Total active cases in Washington County fell by six to 180 between Sunday and Monday, but rose by 25 in a week. Benton County’s active cases fell by five in a day, and rose by 31 in a week, for a total of 225. Total cumulative cases in the two counties rose by 143 and 881, respectively, in a week.
On Monday there were two confirmed active cases on the UA campus, both students, according to the UA COVID-19 dashboard. No new cases were identified in the reporting period of Friday-Sunday.
Of the 300 tests conducted at the UofA between April 26 and May 2, only two were positive. Of the 38,985 conducted since Aug. 10, there have been 1,407 positives, for a cumulative positivity rate of 3.6%