State trails national average in vaccinations
More than 30 new deaths related to complications from the COVID-19 virus were reported in Arkansas on Tuesday — including one in Carroll County — the first such deaths reported in the state after a four-day reprieve, bringing the statewide death toll to 5,706. The local death toll now stands at 45.
At the same time, the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus reported the Arkansas Department of Health in the past week rose by 1,263, down from 1,299 the week before and 1,392 two weeks ago, bringing the total number to 333,709, including 261,604 lab-confirmed cases.
Las week, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state was “at a crossroads,” and “in a race against time” to get Arkansans vaccinated before the rising number of cases of the novel coronavirus hit a second peak.
On Tuesday, speaking during his weekly news conference from Little Rock, he doubled down on that message, saying the state has to do much better. Citing vaccination reports from the state health department, Hutchinson pointed out that 41.7 percent of Arkansans are least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, a number he said was encouraging, but still too low.
“That’s some good news that is going up at that level,” Hutchinson said. “But I will say also that this is below the national average. I think part of it is just some natural resistance in the south in a rural state, and it shows that we have some of that resistance to overcome. We’re below the national average. There’s vaccines out there and it’s a demand issue. We would need to increase that percent. We’re getting closer to the 50 percent and then we’re going to work real hard to get it closer to the 60 and 70 percent that we want.”
As of Tuesday, the ADH reports that the state has received a total of 2,291,620 doses of vaccine, with 1, 558,345 doses already administered. To date, 637,821 state residents are fully vaccinated, while another 335,631 are partially vaccinated.
“We’ve got to work harder on the 18-to-64 age group,” Hutchinson said. “Those people that believe they’re very healthy, they’re very busy, and they put it off and they say, ‘Well, we can do it later.’ We need you to get vaccinated for the good of the state, for the good of the community and your own health.”
Statewide, the number of hospitalizations because of the virus has also increased, with 177 of the state’s 1,789 active cases requiring admission, with more than 50 in intensive care and 24 requiring the aid of a ventilator.
In Carroll County, the total number of COVID-19 cases rose by eight in the past week to 2,772, including 2,352 lab-confirmed cases, 16 active cases, and 2,711 “recovered.”