COVID-19 update: 79th local death reported
Another Carroll County resident has died in the past week from complications related to the COVID-19 virus according to Monday’s report from the Arkansas Department of Health.
The latest death brings the local death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus to 79, including more than 30 deaths in the past five months and four in December.
Statewide, the death toll rose to 8,956 over the past week, an increase of 108 deaths since last week
and 303 since Dec. 6.
On Sunday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, citing a decrease in active cases of the virus coupled with no new hospitalizations, called it “positive news as we move into the week of Christmas.”
“As families gather this week make sure to use caution as we face the incoming Omicron virus,” Hutchinson wrote in a post on Twitter.
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been identified as a “variant of concern” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early evidence has suggested that this variant is less likely to be affected by any immunity incurred from prior coronavirus infection and that it may cause a less serious illness than other forms of the virus, including the Delta variant, which is still the primary variant in circulation.
Last week, Hutchinson and state health secretary Dr. Jose Romero again encouraged all Arkansas residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster, calling news that vaccinations continue to increase “great news showing that we have continued to make progress in vaccinations,” especially during the holiday season when many people may be gathering together.
Active cases of the novel coronavirus did decrease across the state in the past week, with the Arkansas Department of Health reporting 7,692 Monday — down 393 from last week’s total of 8,085. In Carroll County, however, the number of active cases actually increased slightly, rising to 61 reported active cases.
The age group with the most active cases in the state is 25- to 34-year-olds with 1,189, followed by 65-and-over with 1,122 and 35-44 with 1,085.
Children under the age of 18 account for 1,842 — or 23.9 percent — of the state’s active cases.
According to Monday’s report from the state health department, Arkansas saw an increase of 5,222 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past seven days — up from the 5,070 new cases reported the previous week — bringing the total to 543,648 cases. That number includes 526,834 cases described as “recoveries.”
Case numbers in Arkansas have risen steadily since July 31, when there were 380,625 reported cases. Since Oct. 4, the number of cases in Arkansas has increased by 45,856.
In Carroll County, the total number of reported cases increased by 35 since last week — significantly fewer than the 80 new cases reported the week before — rising to 4,518 with 4,378 reported recoveries.
Despite Hutchinson’s report of “good news,” Monday’s report indicated a seven-day increase in COVID-positive hospital admissions — 516, up 30 from last week’s 486 and 84 more than two weeks ago — but showed a slight decrease in ICU admissions at 205, down from 214 last week. More than 45 percent of those patients in ICU beds — 93 — have been placed on ventilators.
Since Feb. 1, more than 90 percent of those hospitalized in the state — along with a similar percentage of those whose deaths were attributed to the virus since that time — were not vaccinated.
Since the pandemic began, hospitalizations related to the virus have included 961 children under the age of 18, an increase of five in the past week, including 124 ICU admissions. More than 95 percent of those pediatric cases since Feb. 1 were among children 12-18 who were not vaccinated against the virus.
On the vaccination front, Monday’s numbers from the state health department show that 1,456,859 Arkansans have been fully vaccinated against the virus — an increase of 31,486 in the past week — while an additional 341,687 have been partially vaccinated. Combined, those numbers account for approximately 64.3 percent of Arkansans aged 5 and older. In addition, 393,514 vaccinated individuals have already received their third-dose booster.
In Carroll County, the ADH reported Monday that an additional 607 doses of the various vaccines — up from last week’s total of 579 doses — were administered in the past week, bringing the total to 28,280 and setting the percentage of county residents who are fully vaccinated against the virus at 45.4 percent. An additional 9.6 percent have been partially immunized.