LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Even as active cases of COVID-19 continue to decline in Arkansas, state officials are sharing concerns over increases in flu cases and the threat of a “twin-demic.”
New data shared by the governor showed a drop in the number of active cases of the virus dropped by 86 to 4,826. The state reported 502 new cases, moving the total case count to 510,908.
The number of Arkansans hospitalized by the virus also went down over the last day, falling by 15 to 380, while the number of patients on ventilators remained at 113.
Hutchinson also said that 14 deaths were added to the state’s total, which now sits at 8,306.
The governor noted that there had been a slight uptick in first-time vaccine doses and that the state administered 11,527 new doses in the prior 24 hours. He added that while the increase in new vaccine recipients was good, more the 60% of the doses given in the last day were booster shots.
There are currently 1,388,061 people fully immunized in the state from COVID-19, with another 284,370 with partial immunity.
Hutchinson started his weekly media briefing Tuesday by getting a flu vaccine shot. He went on to note that reporting from the state shows a higher-than-average number of flu cases around the state.
Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero encouraged Arkansans to go get the flu vaccine, which is being offered at no cost by the state health department and is available to all ages. Romero said this step can help to keep extra stress off the health care system still dealing with COVID-19 cases.
Hutchinson spent a good deal of time Tuesday discussing the progress of the state’s effort to improve computer science education in the state, noting that student enrollment in these classes had increased from just 1,104 in the 2014-2015 school year to 12,547 in the current school year.
He noted there was a 20% increase in students enrolled in these classes in the current year, and that the state was making strides in closing the gaps in enrollment between young men and young women, as well as between different races of students.
The governor was also asked about the status of holding a special session of the state General Assembly to tackle his tax reduction plan. The governor was fairly quick to move past this issue, though, saying he had no update on a time frame for calling the session, which was originally slated to kick off Monday.