Hutchinson: State in race to avoid 2nd peak
Eight new deaths related to complications from the COVID-19 virus were reported in Arkansas on Tuesday, the first such deaths reported in the state in five days, bringing the statewide death toll to 5,673.
At the same time, the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past week rose by 1,392, bringing the total number to 332,446, including 260,696 lab-confirmed cases.
“We are at a crossroads,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during his weekly news conference from Little Rock. “We are in a race against time to get the vaccinations out before we start going up in our cases again.”
Hutchinson’s comments were based on a comparison he shared depicting trend lines of new cases in 2021 in both Arkansas and Michigan. He pointed out that, during most of the pandemic, Arkansas has mirrored the trends in other states, lagging approximately a month behind.
According to the chart he shared Michigan reached its second peak on April 9.
“We can avoid that second peak, if it comes, by making sure we protect ourselves,” Hutchinson said. “We need everyone to participate in [the vaccination process.] Don’t delay.”
Tuesday’s report from the state health department indicated that Arkansas has received a total of 2,038,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with 1,427,096 doses administered. As of Tuesday, 560,168 Arkansans have been fully vaccinated against the virus, while another 356,787 have received at least the initial dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
During Tuesday’s update, Hutchinson shared a more detailed breakdown of the state’s vaccine stockpile, which includes 245,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 178,00 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 63,000 doses of the Janssen vaccine, the one-dose vaccine distributed by Johnson & Johnson.
This week, the Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a joint statement recommending a temporary pause in the distribution of the Janssen vaccine while an investigation is conducted into a rare side effect that has reportedly led to blood clots in six recipients in the U.S., all women between the ages of 18 and 48, six to 13 days after receiving the vaccine.
Hutchinson said that Arkansas will follow that recommendation, and that the vaccines on hand are “appropriately stored” in the event that they may be administered later.
“It remains effective,” Hutchinson said, referring to those who may have received the Janssen vaccine already. “You have got a vaccination that works.They should not have any worry.”
On Tuesday, the ADH reported 1,107 active cases of COVID-19 across the state.
In Carroll County, the number of cases increased by nine in the past week, rising to 2,764, a number that includes 2,345 confirmed cases, 14 active cases, 2,706 reported recoveries and 44 deaths.