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Number of vaccinated tops 15,000

Another 36,300 in two counties have had first shot, health department reports by Alex Golden | February 13, 2021 at 7:30 a.m.
Registered nurse Wendy Broughton (left) administers a covid-19 vaccine Friday to Joyce Hurst of Bentonville at Riordan Hall in Bella Vista. Community paramedics from the Bella Vista Fire Department administered second doses of the vaccine to people in the 1-B category. Go to nwaonline.com/210213Daily/ for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

About 15,300 people in Benton and Washington counties are fully vaccinated against covid-19, while another 36,300 have received the first dose, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

The two counties have a combined population of 384,234 residents 16 and older, so about 4% of that group have been fully vaccinated while about 9.5% are halfway there.

The Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines being used in Arkansas are approved by the federal government. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 16 and older while the Moderna vaccine is approved for people 18 and older. Both vaccines require two doses.

Inclement weather disrupted some scheduled vaccines in the area this week.

Community paramedics from the Bella Vista Fire Department were set to give 805 second doses to school staff and people 70 and older at vaccination events Wednesday through Friday. Wednesday’s event was canceled because of weather, and paramedics planned instead to vaccinate everyone Thursday and Friday, said Cassi Lapp, spokeswoman for the city. Northwest Health System also had to cancel a second dose vaccination clinic Wednesday, according to Christina Bull, spokeswoman.

Residents in Phase 1-A, which includes health care workers and nursing home staff and residents, and two Phase 1-B groups, school employees and people 70 and older, are eligible to receive vaccines now.

More than 442,000 doses had been given in Arkansas as of Thursday, according to the Health Department. The data includes first and second doses.

School districts in the region began vaccinating employees about three weeks ago.

Springdale schools had vaccinated 1,575 employees onsite as of Feb. 5. The district employs 2,952.

Rogers Public Schools planned to complete 940 first doses and 244 second doses to faculty and staff by the end of the day Friday, according to Ashley Siwiec, spokeswoman for the district. The district has 2,063 employees and doesn’t track how many employees may have received vaccines elsewhere.

Bentonville Public Schools planned to complete 1,010 first doses and 500 second doses to employees by the end of the day Friday, according to Janet Schwanhausser, deputy superintendent. The district employs 2,364 people.

At least 1,200 of Fayettville’s t 1,460 employees have received their first dose. It’s unclear how many have received second doses as some vaccination events were disrupted because of weather, according to Alan Wilbourn, spokesman for the district.

Bentonville School District had 86 active cases as of Thursday, according to the Health Department. Rogers had 72 active cases, and Springdale had 68. Fayetteville had 28 active cases. Active cases are those that have not recovered or died.

Washington Regional Medical System had given about 9,450 vaccine doses as of Thursday, an increase of about 1,150 from the week before, according to Natalie Hardin, spokeswoman. The system gave about 3,000 first doses and 2,900 second doses to people in Phase 1-A as well as about 2,800 first doses and 750 second doses to people in Phase 1-B.

Northwest Health System, which has five hospitals in the region, had given about 15,000 doses, an increase of about 3,000 from the week before, according to Christina Bull, spokeswoman for the system. Mercy Health System has given a little more than 8,000 doses, an increase of about 1,650 from the week before, according to Jennifer Cook, spokeswoman. The data for each system includes first and second doses and includes people in Phases 1-A and 1-B.

Covid-19 cases in Northwest Arkansas increased about 1,000 in the past week, according to the Health Department.

Washington County had 28,705 cumulative cases Friday, compared to 28,247 on Feb. 5. The county had 754 active cases Friday including 464 confirmed and 290 probable cases.

Benton County had 26,330 cumulative cases Friday compared to 25,781 on Feb. 5. The county had 917 active cases Friday including 646 confirmed and 271 probable cases.

Hospitals in Northwest Arkansas had a combined total of 62 patients in their covid-19 units as of Thursday, two more than a week before, according to a joint statement from the region’s largest health care organizations via Martine Pollard, spokeswoman for Mercy Health System. Hospitalizations in the region have decreased over the past several weeks after reaching a record with 140 patients at one time on Jan. 8.

Both antigen tests and polymerase chain reaction, or PCR tests are used to test for covid-19. Antigen tests produce faster results, are generally only used on people with symptoms of the virus and have a higher chance of giving false-negative results. Antigen and most PCR tests are done via nasal swabs.

A total of 189,129 PCR tests and 29,331 antigen tests have been done on Benton County residents, while 202,013 PCR tests and 35,933 antigen tests have been done on Washington County residents, according to the Health Department.

Fast fact

Groups of residents in Phase 1-B who aren’t yet be eligible to receive the vaccine include food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, public transportation workers, U.S. Postal Service workers and essential government workers. Phase 1-C, which the state expects to be able to begin receiving vaccines in April, includes people age 65-69, people age 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions and people who work in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing, information technology, communications, energy, media, public safety and public health.

Source: Arkansas Department of Health

Registered nurse Shanna Workman (right) administers a covid-19 vaccine Friday to Mary Tompkins
of Bella Vista at Riordan Hall.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Registered nurse Shanna Workman (right) administers a covid-19 vaccine Friday to Mary Tompkins of Bella Vista at Riordan Hall. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
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