Governor's weekly update: Directives updated

(2/16/21) Governor’s weekly COVID update: Gathering directives loosened

The following statistics were shared at the governor’s weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Feb. 16, and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 313,525 total cases, up 177 from Monday.
  • 9,104 total active cases, down 1,390 from Monday.
  • 5,287 total deaths, up 12 from Monday.
  • 638 cases requiring hospitalization, down four from Monday.
  • 110 cases requiring a ventilator, down one from Monday. 
  • 9,337 cumulative cases in Garland County, up nine from Monday.
  • 404 active cases in Garland County, down 62 from Monday.
  • 8,704 recoveries in Garland County, up 118 from Monday.
  • 227 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of positive PCR tests added in Arkansas was 94, with 93 from the community and one from correctional facilities. There were 83 positive antigen results from a total of 742 antigen tests in the past 24 hours. The number of PCR tests received in the past 24 hours was 1,490.

In his vaccine update, the governor said 658,000 doses have been received in the state, and 69.7% have been administered, or 458,431 doses. He said they are continuing with Phase 1-B – ages 70 and older and education workers – and they want to get as many of these individuals vaccinated as possible before opening up more from this phase.

Hutchinson said he had a call with the White House COVID-19 Task Force and found out that the task force is increasing the national supply allocated to the states by 2.5 million doses, which is the largest weekly increase to date. For Arkansas, this will mean an additional 6,000-7,000 doses per week, which should begin this week or next week.

Hutchinson said that today’s case report is not really significant because of the low testing amount because of the weather. However, it is hopeful that hospitalizations and active cases continue to be reduced.

Large Indoor and Outdoor Event directives are being raised again to requiring Arkansas Department of Health approval for events with more than 100 attendees, whereas it had been lowered to events with 10 or more people. Small events must still follow directives, and new guidance for small events has been issued to help ensure compliance. 

The School and Community Sports directive is also being updated to allow competitions with two or more teams. A plan must be submitted and approved by the Arkansas Department of Health, and the host venue is responsible for compliance. 

Secretary of Heath Dr. Jose Romero said they still have concern about the virus variants, so we need to be sure to continue to wear our masks. The CDC has stated that wearing a cloth mask along with a paper mask further decreases spread of the virus. Physical distancing and hand washing are also critical.