FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Pulaski, Washington, and Benton counties lead the state with the new COVID-19 cases reported according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

UAMS doctor, Sharon Reece, said coming off a holiday weekend, she’s cautiously optimistic COVID-19 will remain under control.

She said there’s an abundance of COVID-19 subvariants spreading through our community and, the virus could take off at any time starting another wave.

However, case numbers still aren’t as high as the Delta and Omicron surges. She said she’s cautious though because at-home tests are being used more frequently and not every positive case is being reported to the state.

“We’re at that point now where people are relying a lot on home tests to determine how they’re going to manage their symptoms and their infections,” said Dr. Reece.

According to the ADH, more than one thousand cases were reported since last week. Total active cases are now more than 11 thousand.

She said if you were exposed to the virus, to wait five days while wearing a mask and then get tested. If you are sick, but your at-home test is negative, she recommends getting retested at a clinic.

The CDC’s recommendations for COVID-19 precautions have changed a lot over the course of the few years. Dr. Reece said moving forward, she expects COVID-19 to become more of a seasonal virus similar to the flu.

She said they are labeling patients as either “up-to-date” on the COVID-19 vaccines or not, meaning patients must have two shots of Pfizer or Moderna and one booster.

The maximum number of COVID-19 shots anyone could have right now is four, and Dr. Reece said that’s only for those who are at high risk.

She said getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself.

“It’s a controlled, scientifically-developed, therapeutic intervention, and that compared with a mutating virus that has subvariants upon subvariants, you know, the two are both new, but I would much rather take my chances with the vaccine at this point,” said Dr. Reece.

Dr. Reece said they’re understanding more about the prevention of the disease.

UAMS is offering vaccines to all their patients but is frequently hosting mobile vaccination events for anyone. The next time there will be a mobile event in NWA will be in Rogers on July 9 and Springdale on July 12.

You can find the exact locations and times, as well as other mobile events at https://nwa.uams.edu/chr/mobile-health/.