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Arkansas' June increase in new covid-19 cases + hospitalizations, explained

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , Nyssa Kruse | June 23, 2021 at 8:57 a.m.
Natasha Cleveland, a health worker with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest Regional Campus, conducts a coronavirus test Sept. 10, 2020 on Bobby Morell during a drive-thru clinic on the campus in Fayetteville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/David Gottschalk)

This story is a part of The Article, your guide to Arkansas news and culture, presented by the Democrat-Gazette. Sign up for The Article's twice-weekly newsletter here or to see stories that have appeared in past newsletters, go here.

About half of Arkansas adults are fully vaccinated against covid-19, but the number of new infections and people hospitalized have both increased steadily in June, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

How many Arkansans are vaccinated?

As of Monday, almost 223,000 Arkansans were partially immunized while about 968,000 were fully immunized. That means about 40% of the state’s population is partially or fully immunized.

Among Arkansans 18 and older, the percentage partially or fully vaccinated is over 50%, but not all adults have gotten shots at the same rate.

According to a federal report, Arkansans who had been fully vaccinated as of Thursday included 64.7% of the state's residents aged 65 and older but only 35.2% of those aged 18-64.

Just 9.4% of children aged 12-17 have been fully vaccinated.

What are case numbers like?

The average number of new cases has steadily increased in June from around 130-150 per day at the beginning of the month to about 230-250 per day in the last week.

The 230-250 range of average daily new cases is comparable to mid-March and well below the peak of new cases that occurred in January, when the daily average was 2,500 to 3,000.

Active cases, which hovered around 1,600 to 1,700 in the beginning of June, have climbed to 2,300 to 2,400 in recent days. That higher number is comparable to late March.

What are hospitalizations like?

Hospitalizations due to coronavirus stayed around 180 to 200 at the beginning of June but have hovered around 240 to 260 in the last week.

That level is comparable to mid-March and is well below the peak in January, when around 1,350 to 1,370 were hospitalized.

What does the state expect going forward?

State epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha said the state expects hospitalizations to continue to rise in the coming days as the hundreds of Arkansans who recently contracted covid-19 progress in their illness.

Dillaha also said she believes the pace of vaccinations, around 5,000 a day in the last week, will start to increase soon thanks to children 12-17 getting shots for back-to-school or to participate in camps.

She recommended Monday that Arkansans, including those who are vaccinated, continue wearing masks around people who may not be immunized.

Read more on the latest case and vaccination numbers from reporter Andy Davis, and check our virus tracker and our vaccine tracker for daily updates.

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