Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson shared data in his weekly press conference Tuesday illustrating that new cases of COVID-19 in August and September stayed nearly universally under levels projected by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
An Aug. 17 UAMS projection estimated that the state would see more than 4,500 new cases per day by Sept. 14, but the Arkansas Department of Health has reported fewer than 2,500 each day in September. New projections beginning Tuesday, illustrated on the graph Hutchinson presented, predict much lower daily numbers and a gentle downward trend in new cases.
“Hopefully we can continue to beat those numbers,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson stressed the importance of Arkansans not delaying getting the COVID-19 vaccination. Approximately 51% of the Arkansas population 12 and older — those currently eligible to take the vaccine — has been fully vaccinated, while another 12% has been partially vaccinated, according to ADH data Hutchinson shared in his briefing.
Statewide, total active cases of COVID-19 (confirmed and probable) fell to 14,225 Tuesday, a decrease of 779 in a day and 2,859 in a week, according to the ADH. Total cumulative cases increased by 1,401 Tuesday, for a total of 486,853. That number rose by 9,662 in a week.
The ADH reported 17 new deaths from confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The additional deaths bring the toll in Arkansas to 7,499, up 165 in a week.
Hospitalizations in Arkansas dropped to 993 Tuesday, down by 34 in a day and 104 in a week, according to the ADH. Statewide, 278 patients were on ventilators Tuesday, a decrease of 11 from Monday but only three from Sept. 14.
State health officials had administered about 2.85 million vaccine doses to Arkansans by Tuesday, according to the ADH, with 301,069 people partially immunized and over 1.31 million people fully immunized. Approximately 7,228 new doses were administered between Monday and Tuesday, with over 43,400 administered in a week.
The more than 1.31 million fully vaccinated Arkansans represent about 43.5% of the state’s total population. About 54.8% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Almost 77% of Arkansas’ vaccine supply — over 3.7 million doses — had been administered by Tuesday.
Washington County reported 1,011 total active cases, and 42,649 total cumulative cases Tuesday. Benton County reported 1,026 total active cases and 40,102 total cumulative cases Monday, according to the ADH.
Total active cases fell by 71 in a day and 102 in a week in Washington County. In Benton County, active cases fell by 20 in a day and 149 in a week. Total cumulative cases in the two counties increased by 822 and 722, respectively, in a week.
Active cases of COVID-19 on the UA campus fell by 23 to 89, total cases rose by 19 and recoveries rose by 42 between the reporting period of Wednesday-Thursday and the reporting period of Friday-Sunday, according to the Pat Walker Health Center COVID-19 Dashboard.
From Friday to Sunday, university officials conducted 82 tests, four of which were positive. Fifteen more cases were self-reported.
Of current active cases, 82 are students, two are graduate assistants, one is a faculty member, three are staff and one is listed as other, which can include vendors, contractors and other non-university employees who have been on campus.
During the week of Sept. 13-19, 46 of 552 on-campus tests were positive, for a positivity rate of 8.3%. The week saw 94 total new cases and a peak of 112 active cases during the Wednesday-Thursday reporting period.