LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced 2122 new cases and 18 additional deaths due to COVID-19 in Arkansas during his weekly virus update in Little Rock on Tuesday.
The 2122 new cases include 1421 confirmed through PCR testing and 701 probable positives resulting from antigen tests.
Hospitalizations due to the virus again rose to a record high (988 total, +14), including 160 patients on ventilators (-4).
The top counties reporting new cases on Tuesday include:
- Washington – 205
- Pulaski – 201
- Benton – 174
- Saline – 110
- Craighead – 73
Northwest Arkansas has experienced the sharpest growth in new cases by region, according to a chart shown by Hutchinson on Tuesday:
The governor urged Arkansans to ‘answer the call’ from contact tracers, who might be trying to contact them to inform them of an exposure to COVID-19. The calls will come from the following numbers: (877) 272-6819, (833) 283-2019, (501) 686-5875
Hutchinson said the state performed 10,359 PCR tests and 4571 antigen tests over the last 24 hours
Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said there’s a third vaccine that’s proving to be effective against COVID-19.
He said it still needs to get approved by the federal government.
The first of the three vaccines will undergo review on December 10 then will need to be approved by another committee.
If all goes well, then the vaccine will be shipped to the U.S. though there won’t be enough for everyone at first.
It could be towards the end of spring or the beginning of summer when there will be enough vaccines for everyone.
State health leaders stress that people should keep safety at the top of their list when planning for the Thanksgiving holiday.
If you’re hosting dinner, stay outside. Keep it brief, stay six feet apart and wear a mask as much as possible.
“It’s also very important that we do this in a safer manner than we have in the past. We don’t want to see these numbers increase after the holidays, hospitalizations and deaths, because that is a very grave possibly today,” Romero said.
Romero and Hutchinson fear we could overwhelm hospitals if we are not careful.
Hutchinson said he is concerned about the movement of people this Thanksgiving, whether that is University of Arkansas students going home or people traveling to spend the holiday with the family.
He said his hopes is these people will get tested once they get back to Arkansas.
“Those who might’ve been in places they shouldn’t be or did not protect themselves in the right way get the test they need and do not further expose anyone else,” Hutchinson said.
You can watch the full weekly press conference from Tuesday, November 24 below: