NORTHWEST ARK, (KNWA/KFTA) — COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Arkansas as Father’s Day approaches. The largest single-day increase of new cases since march was reported Thursday. 1,000 additional people now have COVID.
Active cases have increased significantly since May. Active cases Wednesday were at 7,895. Active cases on May 1 totaled 1,506.
According to Dr. Joel Tumlison with the Arkansas Department of Health, this should be a concern for Arkansans.
“People need to notice because your risk of coming into contact with someone who is infected with COVID is significantly higher than it was back in April,” said Tumlison.
Based on Department of Health projections, this COVID surge is expected to last for at least the next few weeks. Looking at other states that had spikes in April and May are already starting to see a plateau.
“We know we’re on the upswing, but it’s been going on now for a good six weeks. It’s just been slower than some rises in the past,” said Tumlison.
These high case numbers are a worry for a Northwest Arkansas mother. Katherine Hawkins has a young kid and another on the way. She just recently recovered from the virus.
“I got a little complacent having my vaccine and nobody in my bubble getting sick. Then, I got to be patient zero for my family and friends,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins said she’s worried about others catching the virus after she had a tough time recovering.
“I’m very concerned for my family but also for others who have worked in places where there’s a lot of close proximity to people. Specifically, people who may be traveling for the holiday,” said Hawkins.
Dr. Gary Berner is a physician at Community Clinic NWA. According to Berner, the COVID positivity rate at his clinic doubled from two weeks ago. Despite the increase in cases and hospitalizations, Berner said there is a silver lining.
“I’m not saying at all that we haven’t had patients get sick. Our hospitalization numbers are going up. But overall, this has been a milder variant of COVID,” said Berner.
Berner said the best thing anyone can do during this surge, is to do your part in preventing further transmission. That includes making sure you get tested for the virus if you show signs of infection.
“Let’s not take chances. Let’s take care of our co-workers. Let’s take care of our family,” said Berner.
Berner said he’s seen a lot of at-home COVID tests take a while to come back positive. He said you may have to take multiple tests to make sure you don’t have the virus if you’re symptomatic.
Some of the precautions you can take for Father’s Day– wear a mask indoors, have your gatherings outdoors and find ways to increase the space between yourself and others. Tumlison encouraged those who want to spend time with their fathers this holiday weekend, to do so.
“I certainly would encourage you to go see your father and spend time with him,” said Tumlison. “Think about those kinds of measures you can take that will reduce the risk a little bit and still allow you to enjoy the day.”