900+ cases of different COVID-19 variants reported in Arkansas

KNWA

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — After weeks of low COVID-19 numbers, variants, hospitalizations, and cases are on the rise.

Here at our urgent care, we’ve not had any positive cases in several weeks, this week we’ve had six.

JANET BILYEU, LOCAL FAMILY NURSE PRACTITIONER 

As of June 8, Northwest Arkansas hospitals reported caring for 19 patients in the local hospital COVID-19 units, which is a 90% increase from a week ago.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha said an increase in variants may be to blame.

It is likely that at least some of the people in the hospital have one of these variants of concern.

DR. JENNIFER DILLAHA, STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST

More than 900 cases of different variants of the virus reported in the Natural State, according to Dr. Dillaha.

“We know that’s not all because we’re not sequencing everything,” she said.

Dr. Dillaha said the UK variant is the most prevalent, with Brazil’s close behind.

That variant appears to cause more severe disease in younger people.

DR. JENNIFER DILLAHA, STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST

Another concerning variant on the rise? The highly contagious Delta variant.

“We’ve identified 8 cases,” Dr. Dillaha said.

Between these variants and low vaccinations rates, Dr. Dillaha worries cases could continue to climb, but local healthcare providers say only tell will tell.

“Since the numbers were so low, any jump is going to look like a significant jump and so we want to see where this goes,” Community Clinic Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Berner said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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