372 active cases in Garland County; Governor gives weekly COVID update

(01/04/22) 372 active cases in Garland County; Governor gives weekly COVID update

The following statistics and information for Tuesday, January 4, 2022, were shared at a press conference with the governor and/or were posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 16,986 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 100 from Monday.
  • 372 active cases in Garland County, up 46 from Monday.
  • 16,182 recoveries in Garland County, up 54 from Monday.
  • 430 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In addition to the 10 National Guard assigned to assist UAMS, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the deployment of an additional 50 National Guard to assist in testing across the state in coordination with the Arkansas Hospital Association. The 1.5 million at-home tests have been ordered by the state, but there is still no approximate delivery date. 

Today’s case report included three record-high statistics – the number of new cases in the past 24 hours was 6,562; the number of active cases rose to 32,280, up 5,118 from yesterday; and the positivity rate seven-day rolling average also reached a pandemic high at 25.5%. “This tells us that we are entering a period of probably the greatest risk and the greatest challenge that we have faced during the pandemic,” said Hutchinson. Omicron is showing to be less severe, but the governor explained, “The sheer volume of numbers as it moves forward gives us challenges we have not faced before.” There are 53 additional COVID hospitalizations, bringing the statewide total to 775.

The number of vaccine doses given in the past 24 hours was 9,400, which “is lower than what it needs to be and lower than what it has been in previous weeks,” he said, adding that “it is a little bit puzzling to me with the volume of cases that are out there, the people that are waiting in line and the risk that is present in our community.” Only 53.1% of Arkansas residents ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated. 

He offered a reminder that schools have the ability to enact a mask mandate, and he provided the statistic that school districts with a full mask mandate saw a 25% reduction in cases among students and staff in a study done by the Arkansas Department of Health last year. 

Dr. Jose Romero said that they remain concerned about hospital bed capacity for children, “a group that is particularly vulnerable” with just one pediatric hospital system in the state. The CDC director today authorized a third dose for ages 5-11 for immunocompromised children, as well as a shortening of the interval between the primary series of the Pfizer vaccine to the booster to five months. New data confirms that the vaccines are safe and effective for youth.