MEMPHIS, Tenn.– When it comes to COVID-19 in the Natural State the number of active cases and the number of patients in Arkansas hospitals are shattering records again.

This week, the Arkansas Department of Health reports active cases increased from more than 2,200 to more than 97,000. That breaks the previous record from earlier this week.

The number of people with COVID-19 in Arkansas hits a new record for the fourth day in a row.

“Our overall projection was we should start to see a decrease next week and we hope this will continue, but this doesn’t mean we’re going to be out of the woods. We are going to have significant number of people infected,” said Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the pandemic is affecting schools, hospitals and still causing a number of people to die from the virus.

“The active cases in Arkansas have increased by more than 15,000 since last week and now we have over 100,000 active cases that are reportable in this state,” said. Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Arkansas school leaders said there are now more than 50 new COVID 19 cases in each school district in the state. It’s the first time that has happened since the pandemic began.  

Education Deputy Commissioner Dr. Ivy Pfeffer said their challenge is “to address the needs of students first and to understand that staff, teachers, and support staff are fatigued and sometimes they are fearful. We know and understand that.”

The Omicron variant and COVID-19 have Arkansas hospitals experiencing a surge in patients with the virus.

“Our hospitalizations have increased by 349 to a record level of 1,658,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

Arkansas state leaders believe they can slowly reverse this trend if more people get vaccinated and take advantage of testing whether at home or at a testing site.

“We have still a lot to do here and a lot more to go through, but we have positioned ourselves in the best way possible to get through this,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

There were an additional eight deaths added to the state’s tally since yesterday, moving the total number to more than 9,400 since the pandemic began.