COVID-19 in Arkansas: Active cases drop below 10,000 for first time in months; vaccines continue despite cold


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Arkansas was moving forward with COVID-19 vaccinations efforts even as much of the state is facing historic snowfall and record-breaking cold temperatures.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, hospitals and other medical facilities around the state received no new vaccine doses in the last day, though the state did administer 3,342 doses in that time.

There were no new doses made available to Arkansans through the federal program operated through Walgreens & CVS, though that operation did administer 121 new doses.

In all, the state has allocated 658,000 total doses and administered 458,431, a rate of 69.7 percent.

There were 177 new cases of COVID-19 in the last day. There are 313,525 total cases now with 9,104 active cases, the first time that figure was below the 10,000-case amount in months.

Hospitalizations are still seeing a decline with a drop of four patients Monday to 638 patients, with 110 patients on ventilators, a drop of 1.

There were 12 deaths since Monday, with the current death total since the start of the pandemic at 5,287.

Hutchinson said that Arkansas should soon start seeing an additional 6,000 to 7,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine from the increased national supply announced by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The governor also announced that directives for large indoor and outdoor gatherings would also now be moved up to apply to gatherings of 100 or more after previously applying groups of 10 or larger.

Hutchinson noted that the snowfall blanketing Arkansas was the most severe weather event to hit the state in his lifetime, affecting not just the state but the entire region. That wide scope of the storm is complicating many of the responses to the weather in terms of power and gas shortages and other supply chains bringing services.

The governor announced that the Arkansas National Guard deployment working to assist communities dealing with the winter storm will continue to Friday and applauded the efforts by the ANG to help emergency response crews and essential workers get to where they needed to be during the storm.

He also addressed the concerns over power service in the state, noting that there are currently 18,000 to 20,000 Arkansas homes without power. Hutchinson said crews were working to get service restore as soon as possible in the hardest hit areas of the state like Montgomery, Garland and Little River Counties.

Hutchinson also said the demands for service in nearby states like Texas and Oklahoma, especially with natural gas, are impacting both residential and industrial customers around the state, though that is expected to lessen as the temperatures climb later this week.

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