Following the second consecutive week of a renewed COVID-19 surge in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson urged vaccination and social distancing in a press briefing Tuesday.
State health officials predict COVID-19 cases will continue to surge during the 2021 holiday season, as they did in 2020, Hutchinson said in his weekly press briefing. Hutchinson hopes vaccination will slow the spread of the virus and prevent a full repeat of last year’s deadly winter months, he said.
The governor also cautioned against trusting natural immunity from previous COVID-19 infection as an alternative to vaccination.
“Just like a vaccine over time loses some of its effectiveness, the natural immunity loses its effectiveness, and loses it more quickly,” Hutchinson said.
Statewide, active COVID-19 cases rose to 6,080 Tuesday, an increase of 209 in a day and 965 in a week, according to the ADH. Total cumulative cases increased by 690 Tuesday, for a total of 525,130. That number rose by 4,405 in a week.
The ADH reported seven new deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday. The additional deaths bring the toll in Arkansas to 8,627, up 35 in a week.
Hospitalizations in Arkansas rose to 345 Tuesday, up 12 in a day and 69 in a week, according to the ADH. Statewide, 60 patients were on ventilators Tuesday, a decrease of two from Monday and three from Nov. 16.
State health officials had administered more than 3.36 million vaccine doses to Arkansans by Tuesday, according to the ADH, with 319,105 people partially immunized and over 1.43 million people fully immunized. Officials administered 11,640 new doses — including third and booster doses —between Monday and Tuesday, with 69,608 administered in a week.
The more than 1.43 million fully vaccinated Arkansans represent 50.3% of the state’s 5-and-up population. Almost 63% of Americans five and older have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Seventy-seven percent of Arkansas’ vaccine supply — over 4.3 million doses — had been administered by Tuesday.
Washington County officials reported 410 total active cases and 45,476 total cumulative cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Benton County reported 573 total active cases and 43,550 total cumulative cases the same day, according to the ADH.
Total active cases fell by 29 in a day but rose by 53 in a week in Washington County. In Benton County, active cases fell by eight in a day but rose by 106 in a week. Total cumulative cases in the two counties increased by 408 and 451, respectively, in a week.
There were 10 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, seven were students, two were staff and one was a non-university affiliate.
PWHC officials recorded seven new cases last week, five of which were self-reported and two of which were identified through on-campus testing. An additional 344 tests came back negative, for a weekly positivity rate of 0.6%.