Nearly 400 Arkansans tested positive for the coronavirus on the Fourth of July holiday, an increase from the new cases reported by the Arkansas Department of Health on Sunday and in line with trends of increasing cases in the state in recent weeks.
The state saw 386 new cases Monday, 165 Sunday and more than 1,400 Saturday.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, there have been 868,770 cases of covid-19 in Arkansas.
The lower number of new cases Sunday and Monday is likely indicative of fewer people testing for the virus over a holiday weekend. Historically, testing as well as new case numbers tend to trend downward during and immediately after holiday periods.
Deaths from the virus increased by four Monday, bringing the toll in Arkansas since the start of the pandemic to 11,589, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.
The summer season has historically been a time for surges across the United States for covid-19. Last year, cases began to increase in Arkansas in July with the onset of the delta variant, which led to an overwhelming rise in infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Data so far this July is following similar trends from last year, though active cases this July are nearly three times higher than those during the same time period in 2021.
As of Monday, the Health Department reported 11,986 active cases, a notable decrease from the 12,585 reported the day before. Active cases reported over the weekend are the highest since Feb. 16.
Hospitals across the state tallied 249 covid-positive admissions Monday, a slight uptick from the 245 patients the Health Department reported hospitalized over the weekend. Of those, 54 patients are in intensive care units for the virus, also a slight increase from Sunday. Twelve patients are on ventilators, the Health Department reported.
Also compared with the same time period in 2021, hospitalizations are trending similarly. On July 5, 2021, for example, there were 361 covid-19 positive hospital admissions, with 166 of those patients in ICUs. Ventilator use was much higher during the time period last year with 70 patients placed on the machines with the virus.
Vaccinations increased slightly Monday from the day before, with 1,622,131 people now fully immunized in the state, representing about 57% of the population over the age of 5, the Health Department reported. There are 285,970 people who are partially immunized; about 690,000 have had a booster shot.
At the beginning of July 2021, the number of Arkansans who had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus had just passed the 1 million mark, accounting for 39% of the population 12 and older. Vaccines then were not yet cleared for children under 12.