Governor gives update on cases and vaccinations

(5/4/21) Governor’s weekly COVID update 

The following statistics were shared at the governor’s weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, May 4, and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 336,462 total cases, up 296 from Monday.
  • 2,043 total active cases, up 104 from Monday.
  • 5,752 total deaths, up five from Monday.
  • 192 cases requiring hospitalization, up 20 from Monday.
  • 28 cases requiring a ventilator, down one from Monday. 
  • 10,132 cumulative cases in Garland County, up five from Monday.
  • 39 active cases in Garland County, up one from Monday.
  • 9,833 recoveries in Garland County, up four from Monday.
  • 259 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of positive PCR tests added in Arkansas was 174, with all but one being from the community (one was from a correctional facility). There were 122 positive antigen results from a total of 1,079 antigen tests in the past 24 hours. The number of PCR tests received in the past 24 hours was 1,846. 

Hutchinson said today’s 296 new case count is a higher jump from the 229 added last Tuesday, and that active cases rose today by 104 and hospitalizations rose by 20. Testing remains at a low level. 

In his vaccination progress update, Hutchinson shared that of the 2,525,070 total doses distributed to the state, 69.4%, or 1,751,620, have been administered. There have been 768,130 Arkansans fully immunized, and 270,426 have been partially immunized. 

Hutchinson shared what he said will be a challenging goal for the state to reach 50% of the population with at least one vaccination shot in the next 90 days. There are currently 1,038,556, or 34%, who have received at least one shot, so 467,206 more Arkansans will need to receive a shot to reach this goal. 

To help in achieving the goal, ADH is doing pop-up clinics in communities across the state at local events. The list of events where there will be walk-up vaccines available is growing, and is currently between 600-700, and include the Arkansas Travelers game at Dickey-Stephens Park on May 4 and the Arkansas Made – Arkansas Proud event at War Memorial Stadium on May 15. 

Hutchinson provided information on state legislative actions that relate to COVID-19, including Act 1030 and Act 1002, which both become effective 90 days from the legislature recess. Act 1030 prohibits state and local authorities from using a vaccine passport as a condition of entry, travel, education or services. Act 1002 ends the face covering requirement that was issued through executive order and prohibits state agencies, local governments and local officials from mandating the use of face coverings. The current state of emergency will end on May 30. If the governor wishes to renew the state of emergency, a request shall be sent to the Arkansas Legislative Council no later than May 20. 

Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero again reported an increase in the number of variants in the state, with a particularly significant jump in the U.K. variant. To illustrate the variant spread, a graph was shown that highlighted 12 counties with confirmed variant cases as of April 3; 18 counties with confirmed variant cases by April 19; and 29 counties with confirmed variant cases as of May 3. Each of the illustrated maps had Garland County highlighted as having at least one variant case confirmed. 

Romero noted on the increase in hospitalizations, active cases and rate of positivity, which he said is “worrisome to us at epidemiologists and public health people. We want to make sure that this does not continue because it indicate that we have spread of significant amounts of virus in the state.”

 5-4-21 ADH daily chart