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Arkansas' active covid cases rise for first time in almost 2 months

by Tess Vrbin | March 19, 2022 at 6:17 p.m.
Thomas Cook, with the Arkansas Army National Guard, finishes administering a test for COVID-19 at a drive-thru screening site at UAMS on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Gov. Asa Hutchinson visited the medical campus to welcome 12 Arkansas National Guard soldiers who are helping with the demand at the drive-thru screening site. See more photos at arkansasonline.com/15uams/..(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)

The Arkansas Department of Health reported Saturday that more Arkansans had contracted the coronavirus than recovered from it during the previous 24 hours.

It was the first time the number of active covid-19 cases had risen since the omicron variant peaked in Arkansas almost two months ago.

The Health Department reported 1,541 active cases Saturday, up 13 from Friday. It broke an eight-week run in which active cases had consistently fallen.

Although active cases rose on Saturday, the number is still down almost 98.5% from the all-time record of 102,575 active cases on Jan. 22. Saturday's number is also the second-lowest total since May 2020, just behind the number recorded Friday.

The low for 2021 was 1,594 active cases, recorded in June before the surge of infections from the delta variant of the coronavirus.

The Health Department has recorded 830,020 total covid-19 cases in just over two years, including 1,131 reported Saturday, the biggest jump in four weeks. Officials say the increase is largely old recovered cases, a result of clearing up a data backlog that built up during the omicron variant surge.

Of those 830,020 cases, 817,165 are considered recovered.

The Health Department recorded 25 new deaths of the virus Saturday for a total of 11,078. The state topped 11,000 covid deaths on Thursday, and will mark the second anniversary of the state's first covid deaths this Thursday.

As of Friday, hospitals are no longer required to report their numbers of covid-19 patients to the Health Department on weekends and holidays. The hospitals that did report data had no cumulative change in the number of covid-19 patients in intensive care since Friday's 64, the smallest number since April 24, 2021.

The number of patients on ventilators increased by one, to 41.

The overall number of hospitalized covid-19 patients decreased for the 15th consecutive day, falling by six to 177 patients on Saturday. The number remained at the lowest level since June 2021.

More details in Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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