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Arkansas' covid hospitalizations fall for first time since Christmas

Hutchinson: Get tested for covid-19 by Teresa Moss | January 24, 2022 at 7:07 a.m.
Michael Kent of Sherwood is wheeled out of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock by UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson as he is applauded by employees and staff in this Jan. 4, 2021, file photo. Kent was the 1,000th covid-19 patient to be discharged from UAMS. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

Active covid-19 cases and hospitalizations decreased Sunday, a day in which reporting is typically lower, as total active cases remained over 100,000 and current hospitalizations stayed over 1,600, according to the daily Arkansas Department of Health report.

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"The decline in active cases and hospitalizations is a good start for the week," Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted Sunday. "If you feel sick, get tested and stay home. We know the steps to take to protect ourselves and our neighbors."

Cases in the state have been climbing steadily since the holidays, with records set each week.

The Health Department reported 3,804 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday.

Active cases declined by 1,779 for a total of 100,797 -- the third-highest total since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. There were 4,418 active cases added to the total since last Sunday.

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Hospitalizations declined by 26 for a total of 1,633 -- the fourth-highest total since the start of the pandemic, the report shows. There were 248 new hospitalizations added to the total since last Sunday.

The state saw the highest hospitalizations on record on Saturday with 1,659.

Hutchinson said last week that efforts to expand capacity in hospitals had already started.

Sunday was the first day-to-day decrease in hospitalizations the state has seen since Christmas. Overall, 32,089 people have been hospitalized since March 2020.

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There were 196 people on ventilators Sunday, down 11 since Saturday. There have been 3,308 people on ventilators since March 2020. A total of 28 patients were put on ventilators since last Sunday

The number of covid-19 deaths increased by 12 Sunday for a total of 9,510 since the start of the pandemic. Since last Sunday, 424 deaths have been added to the total.

Compared with other days in January, it was a low day for tests with 9,858 PCR tests and 749 antigen tests given. There were 3,450 fewer PCR tests and 107 antigen tests given Sunday than the previous.

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Hutchinson said last week that vaccine doses administered were lower than it needed to be.

"We know the vaccine drastically lowers your chances of severe symptoms and hospitalizations," Hutchinson said via tweet.

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The number of new doses of vaccine administered Sunday were reported at 2,659, with 3.8 million given since they were made available. As of Sunday, 1.5 million people in the state were fully immunized.

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Pulaski County continued to lead the state with 466 new cases Sunday. Benton County followed with 374 new cases and Faulkner County with 245.

The report said there were 19 active cases in state correctional facilities.


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