Governor updates on vaccines/new cases

(1/26/21) Governor’s weekly COVID update: Downward trend, but uptick today

The following statistics were shared at the governor’s weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Jan. 26, and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 287,187 total cases, up 2,485 from Monday.
  • 18,158 total active cases, up 366 from Monday.
  • 4,690 total deaths, up 40 from Monday.
  • 1,095 cases requiring hospitalization, up 11 from Monday.
  • 176 cases requiring a ventilator, down 11 from Monday. 
  • 8,128 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 126 from Monday.
  • 693 active cases in Garland County, up 56 from Monday.
  • 7,237 recoveries in Garland County, up 70 from Monday.
  • 196 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of positive PCR tests added in Arkansas was 1,317, with 1,306 from the community and 11 from correctional facilities. There were 1,168 positive antigen results from a total of 4,959 antigen tests in the past 24 hours. The number of PCR tests received in the past 24 hours was 5,530. 

Hutchinson said that the state is making progress every day in terms of vaccine distribution. He said the program is dependent on federal supplies provided to the state each week, adding that the amount of doses delivered has been consistent, but have not been increasing week to week. Within 48 hours of the state receiving last week’s first-dose supply, 92% of the doses were in the arms of Arkansans within 48 hours. This week, the state has received about 72,000 doses. Of those, only 37,125 are first dose, while the remaining are second doses. He said they are making sure the distribution of vaccine is both efficient and equitable – getting the vaccine to all parts of the state, to both rural and urban areas. 

During the case report, Hutchinson noted that today’s new case count is an increase from a week ago. There was also an increase in active cases and 11 additional COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization. However, the general trend of new daily cases, active cases and hospitalizations has been on a downward trend following the holiday surge. He said that while on a Winter COVID Task Force call earlier in the day, hospitals from across the state reported having a reduction in hospitalizations. 

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, ADH medical director for immunizations, said that The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and they work. The pharmaceutical companies’ studies found that only 5-6% of participants contracted COVID-19. However, none of the participants had severe cases of the disease, meaning the vaccines are 100% effective at preventing severe disease. She said it is important for those who are vaccinated to continue to wear masks, avoid crowds, socially distance and wash their hands. Although case counts in the state are trending downward, there are new, more infectious strains spreading across the globe. “We want to make sure we do not give them the opportunity to spread in Arkansas,” she said. 

Secretary of Education Johnny Key echoed Dillaha’s plea for mitigation efforts to continue, in particular for those attending school sponsored events. He said this is important so that winter sports and activities will be able to continue uninterrupted. 

Hutchinson shared the unemployment figures for the state, which were released today and showed a decrease from 6.2% in November to 4.2% in December. In March, when pandemic started, unemployment was 5%. It quickly spiked to 10.8%, and followed with a steady decline. Hutchinson explained that Arkansas is not only having low unemployment numbers, but a growth in the workforce.

1-26-21 ADH daily graphic