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State reports 1,459 new covid cases, 13 deaths

by Andy Davis | July 21, 2021 at 6:52 p.m.
Janessa Johnson, 13, gets her covid-19 vaccine shot from nurse practitioner Barbara McDonald on Friday, June 18, 2021, at University of Arkansas for Medical Science's vaccine clinic at Philander Smith College in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

Coronavirus infections appeared to be continuing to surge in Arkansas on Wednesday, with the state's count of cases rising by 1,459 and the number of covid-19 patients in hospitals rising for the 16th day in a row.

The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Department of Health, rose by 13, to 6,020.

"They're still moving in the wrong direction," State Epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha said of the state's case numbers. "It's very concerning."

Wednesday's increase in cases was the state's third-largest in a single day since February.

It followed a spike of 1,875 cases on Tuesday, which was the largest one-day new case total since Feb. 4.

The number of covid-19 patients in Arkansas who were hospitalized, on ventilators and in intensive care all rose by double-digits, with the number on the breathing machines and in ICU units reaching their highest level since late January.

The number who were hospitalized grew by 33, to 848, its highest level since since Feb. 3.

According to Health Department figures, the number has grown every day this month except for July 5, when there was no change in the number compared to the day earlier.

The number of covid-19 patients who were on ventilators rose Wednesday by 25, to 156, the largest number since Jan. 27.

The number who were in intensive care grew by 21, to 334, its highest level since Jan. 26.

The average number of cases added to the state's count each day over a rolling seven-day period rose to 1,173, its highest level since Feb. 10.

With new cases outpacing recoveries, the number of cases that were considered active rose by 428, to 11,903, the largest number since Feb. 13.

Based on numbers as of Tuesday, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rankings on Wednesday continued to list Arkansas as the state with the most new cases per capita over a rolling seven-day period.

The 8,058 cases that were added to Arkansas’ count during the week ending Tuesday translated to a rate of 267 per 100,000 residents.

Florida had the next-highest rate, 264.2 per 100,000 residents, followed by Missouri, with 244.6 per 100,000 residents.

The national rate was 79.4 cases per 100,000 residents.

In death per capita, Arkansas fell from being tied with Montanta for having highest rate Tuesday to roughly tying with Missouri for the fifth-highest rate as of Wednesday.

Arkansas' 37 deaths during the week ending Tuesday amounted to a rate of 1.2 per 100,000 residents.

Maine had the highest rate, 1.9 per 100,000 residents.

Also topping Arkansas in deaths per 100,000 residents were Montana with 1.6, Louisiana with 1.4 and New Mexico with 1.3.

The national rate was 0.5 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Meanwhile, Health Department figures continued to indicate an uptick in the state's vaccinations.

At 9,833, the increase in doses providers reported having administered, including second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, was larger by more than 3,800 than the one a week earlier.

The average number of doses administered each day over a rolling seven-day period rose to 7,103, its highest level since the week ending May 29.

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