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Arkansas' covid hospitalizations hit 2-month low; death toll rises by 40

by Tess Vrbin | February 26, 2022 at 5:35 p.m.
Dr. Ramakrishna Thotakura (center) talks on the phone as nurses Kia Kandlbinder (left) and Brionna Rivers (right) look on while making rounds in one of the Covid wards at University of Arkansas for Medical Science on Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Little Rock. .More photos at www.arkansasonline.com/725covid/.(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Arkansas resumed their downward trend Saturday, with 41 fewer Arkansans hospitalized with the disease, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

However, the Health Department also reported 40 more covid deaths.

State officials reported 508 covid hospitalizations on Saturday, the lowest total since 482 Arkansans were hospitalized with the disease on Dec. 26. The number had fallen for 25 straight days until Friday, when hospitalizations rose by four, to 549.

The number of ventilator users and intensive care patients declined Saturday as well. Ventilators in use fell for the 12th day running, with 79 on Saturday, five fewer than Friday, according to Health Department data.

The count of intensive-care patients fell by seven on Friday, for a total of 168. That's still more than were reported on Thursday; Friday saw 10 new patients in intensive care, the first increase in the count after 18 days on the decline.

The 40 deaths reported Saturday by the Health Department marked the third consecutive day of at least 40 new daily deaths. But with 50 total deaths reported in the four days before that, the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths was just under 25, well below the 42 it reached just last week.

Arkansas officials have tallied 10,465 covid deaths since the pandemic reached the state in March 2020.

Active, or currently infectious, covid-19 cases continued to decline Saturday, falling by 364 from Friday. The total of 6,391 active cases is the smallest number since the Health Department reported 5,891 cases on Dec. 1.

Since the pandemic began, 818,931 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Arkansas. Of those, 801,839 are considered recovered.

Arkansans received 2,087 covid-19 vaccine shots Saturday, 891 more than Friday. Of those, 45% were booster shots.

The Health Department reports that 542,156 Arkansans have received a third dose of the vaccine.

More details in Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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