COVID

Arkansas is top state in nation for new COVID cases

The state of Arkansas has led the country in new COVID-19 cases per

capita in the last two weeks. Officials have attributed the increase

of positive cases to the low vaccination percentage in the state,

particularly the rural communities. Historically, rural communities,

which in Arkansas is comprised of 42 percent, are hard to reach with

vaccination programs.During a recent Community COVID Conversation,

Governor Asa Hutchinson stated the Delta variant was spreading at

“warp speed” across Arkansas.

“It is more contagious. It is more transmissible. And it can lead to

hospitalization more quickly,” the governor said. Through the

Community COVID Conversation, Hutchinson is trying to reach people

within rural communities before the Delta variant spreads to these

areas.

“Let me describe the challenge we face. One month ago, our active

COVID cases had declined along with our hospitalizations. We were

increasing our vaccinations across the state, and we were very

optimistic about the return to normalcy...And then during the last

month, we saw our rate of vaccinations stall at about 40 percent, and

the Delta variant showed up, a right-left punch that has led to a

dramatic increase in the daily number of new COVID cases, along with

an increase in hospitalizations,” said Hutchinson.

Over the weekend, numbers increased to 565 people hospitalized in

Arkansas on Monday and the state’s daily cases has more than

doubled in the past two weeks. The Delta variant may account for more

than 80 percent of the new infections according to data compiled from

the Outbreak.info tracker. At time of press, more than 7,200 Arkansans

are infected with the virus.

There were 288 new cases reported on Monday, 965 reported on Sunday

and 760 cases on Saturday.

“The most powerful incentive is the reality that if Arkansas

doesn’t significantly increase its rate of vaccinations, we won’t

be getting rid of COVID-19 and its spinoffs anytime soon,” stated

Hutchinson.

He continued, “In Arkansas, we have chosen the path of personal

responsibility. The state is wide open. We aren’t mandating masks or

vaccinations. We know what we must do, and for the most part,

Arkansans have done the hard work. The big task before us now is to

vaccinate more Arkansans.”

“The three vaccines are effective against all the COVID variants,

including the Delta variant. The vaccine reduces the symptoms in those

who do catch it; 90 percent of those who get the vaccine are not

hospitalized, and the vaccine cuts the chance of death to almost zero.

More than 50 percent of the population of Bradley County has been

fully vaccinated. In the coming weeks, I expect more counties to

reach that interim goal that I set, and then we can go up from

there,” concluded the governor.

At press time, Scott County had 51 active COVID-19 cases. For new

case and vaccination statistics, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

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