Washington County had 296 new cases of covid-19 on Friday -- the most in the state, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
Benton County reported the third highest number of new cases, 201. Pulaski County was second with 276. Overall, the state reported 2,866 new cases Friday.
The numbers show an increase from a week earlier, when Benton County had 158 new cases and Washington County had 220, according to the Department of Health.
Increases in covid-19 cases have prompted the Northwest Arkansas Council to partner with local businesses and organizations to host vaccine clinics in the region, according to a news release from the organization. Miss Arkansas USA Stephanie Barber appeared at a vaccine clinic hosted by the council at J.B. Hunt headquarters in Lowell to encourage vaccinations and take photos with participants Friday.
In Benton County, 57.4% of the population was fully or partially vaccinated for covid-19 as of Friday, according to the Department of Health. Numbers were slightly higher in Washington County, where 58.9% were fully or partially vaccinated. In Sebastian County, 49.3% were fully or partially vaccinated.
The number of hospitalizations in Northwest Arkansas continued to be above the January peak this week, according to Martine Pollard, a spokeswoman for Mercy who released a joint statement with the region's largest health care providers.
On Friday, 158 covid patients were being cared for in area hospitals, down from the high of 173 set Aug. 11, she said.
A total of 131 patients were in intensive care units and 79 were on ventilators on Friday; those numbers included both covid-19 patients and patients with other medical needs, she said. The record highs in those categories are 139 intensive care patients, set Aug. 20, and 81 on ventilators, set Aug. 17.
Fifty-eight covid-19 patients were hospitalized at Baptist Health-Fort Smith on Friday, down from 73 a week earlier. However, the hospital saw increases in the number of patients in covid critical care units -- from 26 last week to 31 Friday -- and the number on ventilators, from seven to 18, according to Kim Miller, Baptist Health region president. At Baptist Health-Van Buren, 27 patients were hospitalized, up from 10 a week earlier, and none were on a ventilator, she said.
At Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith, 55 patients were hospitalized with covid-19 on Friday and 15 were in the ICU, said spokeswoman Mardi Taylor. The hospital's numbers were practically the same as they were a week earlier.
Statewide, 1,324 patients were hospitalized with covid-19 on Friday, according to Katie White, spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Health. A total of 507 patients were in ICU and 348 were on ventilators. Only 24 ICU beds were available in the state, she said.
Washington County reported 25 new covid-related deaths this week for a total of 55 in August, according to Janell Smith, deputy coroner. The county reported 32 covid-related deaths in July.
Benton County recorded 21 deaths this week for a total of 73 in August and 219 in 2021, said Coronor Daniel Oxford.
Eleven new covid-related deaths were reported in Sebastian County this week, for a total of 43 in August and 67 since July 1, said Coroner Kenneth Hobbs. The people who died ranged in age from 42 to 85. Only one of the deceased was a resident of Sebastian County; the rest came from the surrounding area to seek treatment at hospitals in Fort Smith, he said.
The state's top three school districts in terms of active covid-19 cases were all Northwest Arkansas districts, according to the state's latest report Thursday on educational institutions.
Bentonville, the third-largest district in the state, led in active cases with 125, followed closely by Springdale, the state's largest district, at 124 cases. Rogers reported 114 active cases.
The Cabot School District was fourth at 107 cases, and Fort Smith was fifth with 104, according to the Department of Health.
At a glance
This week, 85% of active cases of covid-19 in Arkansas are among unvaccinated people.
Since Feb. 1, 89% of cases, 91.3% of hospitalizations and 88.7% of deaths have been among unvaccinated people.
Source: Arkansas Department of Health