Cases increase by 123; no new deaths reported in county
According to numbers released by the Arkansas Department of Health on Monday morning, there were 123 new cases of COVID-19 in the county since last week, with no additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus and more than 130 reported recoveries.
Statewide, however, the health department reported 18,598 new cases since Dec. 28, an increase of nearly 8.7 percent. In the past seven days, more than 260 additional deaths have been reported.
The increases come nearly three weeks after the first round of vaccines were delivered to hospitals around the state as part of a massive inoculation effort aimed at vaccinating healthcare workers in advance of a larger effort aimed at the general populace.
At Mercy Hospital in Berryville — which employs approximately 125 people — executive director Cody Qualls said Monday that 55 initial vaccine doses were administered last month, with another 30 to 35 expected to be administered Monday. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine being administered is given in two doses approximately 21 days apart.
“After today, that would put us at everyone who wanted to take the vaccine — which is a very high proportion of our staff — will have had the first round by the end of day today,” Qualls said. “We’re hopefully receiving those second doses by the end of this week.”
Monday morning’s report from the ADH showed a total of 233,475 cases statewide. That number includes 192,809 lab-confirmed cases, along with 205,462 reported recoveries and 3,749 deaths.
In last week’s COVID-19 update, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that he would be extending the public health emergency in Arkansas for an additional 60 days.
The state of emergency was originally set to expire Dec. 30.
“There’s not any good news at all in this report,” Hutchinson said during the Dec. 29 news conference, during which he spotlighted the number of deaths attributed to the virus in a single day — 66, the largest number in a 24-hour period in the state since the pandemic began.
Locally, there were a total of 2,123 cases reported in Carroll County, including 1,858 confirmed, along with 1,943 reported recoveries. As of Monday, 150 cases remained active.
No new deaths were reported since last week, leaving the total at 30.
Last week, Hutchinson again said that he hopes the vaccine distribution will “turn the tide.”
“Our hospitals have worked very hard to get the vaccines, even through the holidays, administered,” he said. “Our healthcare workers are responding very well. It’s picked up the morale, the step of those working in that environment.
“We’re moving quickly, in terms of the vaccine, for our healthcare workers.”