LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that the number of active COVID-19 cases in the state has doubled this week while criticizing shelter in place guidelines during his weekly news briefing Tuesday.
According to data from the Arkansas Department of Health, there were 32,280 active cases last Tuesday. Now, there are 64,735.
Hospitalizations also increased, rising by 373 in just one week, the ADH data showed. There are now 1,148 hospitalizations in the state.
Hutchinson also noted that in the first 11 days of this month, there have been 50 pediatric hospitalizations. There were 41 pediatric hospitalization total last month.
Due to the rising number of hospitalizations, Hutchinson said he asked a hospital to report how many people with COVID-19 in the hospital went there for something else but tested positive for COVID.
The governor reported that 30% of the patients positive with COVID-19 on Jan. 4 did not go to the hospital for COVID symptoms, but rather went there for another reason.
Despite the surge in active cases, Hutchinson criticized shelter in place guidelines, saying we cannot close schools, we cannot shelter in place and we cannot stop living.
The governor said the state is taking measures to ensure the safety of Arkansans and repeatedly urged those who aren’t yet fully vaccinated to do so.
The National Guard has been deployed to help with PCR tests in multiple locations across the state, Hutchinson said. Health officials also ordered 1.5 million at-home tests to be distributed to Arkansans at no cost.
Currently, the state has 211,000 of the 1.5 million at-home tests ordered, but 393,000 are in route and may arrive by tonight, Hutchinson reported.
According to the ADH, there were 7,756 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, an increase of 3,613.
There have now been 9,358 Arkansans die because of COVID-19, the ADH reported. This is an increase of 25 from the day before.
In just 24 hours, 80 more Arkansans have been hospitalized, pushing the total number of current hospitalizations to 1,148. There currently 163 patients on ventilators, and increase of 16 from the previous day.
According to the data, there are now 1,520,259 fully immunized Arkansans, with another 365,389 having partial immunity. The governor stressed this is not enough, saying if Arkansans want schools to operate and people to work, the state needs to increase its vaccination rate.