A year ago, Arkansas health officials reported 2,348 new cases of covid-19 on Thanksgiving, which at the time was a single-day record.
On Thursday, the number of new cases of covid-19 in the state was just 579, bringing the total active cases to 6,173, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
As Arkansans sat down for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday the state was in much better shape than it was a year ago. Last fall, health officials warned the public about rising covid-19 case numbers that would further be increased by travel, large holiday gatherings and cold weather.
Now, the number of cases and hospitalizations from covid-19 is down as vaccines are widely available. While health officials cautioned against large gatherings before last Thanksgiving, the message to Arkansans this year was to get vaccinated or a booster shot.
"Our case report today is lower than last week," said Gov. Asa Hutchinson in a tweet. "As we celebrate the blessings of life today, I hope you'll all join me in thanking our frontline workers who continue to work in the face of this pandemic."
The 579 new cases of covid-19 the state reported Thursday were much fewer than the 694 additional cases the state reported Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Health Department reported the number of those hospitalized with covid-19 was down by 32 compared with Wednesday, bringing the total to 312. On Thanksgiving last year, there were 1,003 people in Arkansas hospitalized with the coronavirus.
The number of those on ventilators dropped by two to a total of 64, a significant drop from the 169 people who were on ventilators last Thanksgiving.
Health officials reported an additional nine deaths from covid-19, bringing the death count 8,652.
While Arkansas still lags behind most states in its vaccination rate, the number of those receiving a dose continues to climb as the state reported an additional 9,311 doses of the vaccine given.
An additional 1,562 people were partially immunized while 1,649 additional people were fully immunized, the state reported Thursday.
On Thursday, the Health Department reported Washington County led the state in the number of new covid-19 cases with 59, followed by Faulkner County with 35 and Benton County with 32. Of the active cases, 6,153 were community while 19 were in correction facilities.
Cases of covid-19 at Arkansas primary and secondary public schools dropped by 188 from Monday to Wednesday, to 1,237.
The Bentonville School District was listed as having the highest number of active cases with 54, followed by the Cabot School District with 46 and the Fort Smith School District with 43, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
The Pulaski County Special School District had 25 active cases, one fewer than the Health Department reported on Monday. The Little Rock School District also had 25 active cases, the same as reported on Monday.
The North Little Rock School District had 20 active cases of covid-19, up from the 16 the Health Department reported on Monday.