As our state deals with the spread of covid-19 in the midst of a global outbreak, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will publish five things you need to know each week. We'll be publishing these roundups in English, Spanish and Marshallese. You can read our full coverage at arkansasonline.com/coronavirus/. Coronavirus coverage pertaining to crucial public health information will be available for all readers.
Here are this week’s five important things to know about the coronavirus.
• Arkansas has recorded 264,511 confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data posted Jan. 15. State health officials have reported 4,228 covid-19 deaths and 235,513 recoveries. Officials also reported that Arkansas has distributed 112,238 doses of the covid-19 vaccine.
• Arkansans who are 70 and older as well as school and child care center employees will be eligible to receive the covid-19 vaccine starting Jan. 18, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Jan. 12. The group is set to begin receiving the vaccine a few weeks ahead of the governor’s originally announced schedule. Prison inmates are excluded.
• John Vinson, chief executive of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, said that while there will be enough vaccines available, it may take a few weeks to schedule appointments for everyone eligible to receive the shots. Teachers should contact their employers for information on how to get the vaccine. People 70 and older can schedule their appointments by calling a participating pharmacy. A list can be found at: healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-map-of-1-a-pharmacy-locations.
• The number of active covid-19 cases were at high levels this week, which State Epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha said is likely a warning of more hospitalizations in the coming weeks. Active cases hit a record high Jan. 10 with 27,822.
• The long-term outlook for hospitalizations, including in intensive care units and ventilator use, is worse than last month’s forecast, according to projections released Jan. 12 by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. The report noted that Arkansas likely won’t see the effects of the vaccine in the short- or mid-term.