FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – State health leaders are calling Arkansans to action after the latest UAMS COVID-19 projections.

These forecasts show we can expect more than a thousand new COVID-19 cases in the next 15 days.

The model shows that Arkansans between the ages of 35 and 59 are the highest at risk of COVID-19 diagnoses and that age group will soon exceed the older patients hospitalized with the virus.

UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson said COVID-19 positivity rate in Arkansas is more than 20%, which is five times the national average, and it could be getting worse.

“This is beyond bad news,” Dr. Amick said. “We’re gonna look back in January and go, ‘Boy, remember the good ole days of July 2021’ Cause it’s gonna wipe people out.”

Dr. Amick said the average age of COVID-19 patients right now is 40. He said this proves the Delta variant is targeting younger Arkansans and those who are currently young and healthy could still be at extreme risk.