Hutchinson: State in race to avoid 2nd peak

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

More than 30 new deaths related to complications from the COVID-19 virus were reported in Arkansas on Monday — including one in Carroll County — the first such deaths reported in the state after a four-day reprieve, bringing the statewide death toll to 5,694. The local death toll now stands at 45.

At the same time, the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past week rose by 1,299, down from 1,392 the week before, bringing the total number to 333,452, including 261,418 lab-confirmed cases.

“We are at a crossroads,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last week during his weekly news conference from Little Rock. “We are in a race against time to get the vaccinations out before we start going up in our cases again.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Hutchinson’s comments were based on a comparison he shared depicting trend lines of new cases in 2021 in both Arkansas and Michigan. He pointed out that, during most of the pandemic, Arkansas has mirrored the trends in other states, lagging approximately a month behind.

According to the chart he shared, Michigan reached its second peak on April 9.

“We can avoid that second peak, if it comes, by making sure we protect ourselves,” Hutchinson said. “We need everyone to participate in [the vaccination process.] Don’t delay.”

Monday’s report from the state health department indicated that Arkansas has received a total of 2,262,130 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with 1,532,275 doses administered. As of Monday’s report, 622,577 Arkansans have been fully vaccinated against the virus, while another 339,950 have received at least the initial dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Last week, the Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a joint statement recommending a temporary pause in the distribution of the Janssen vaccine distributed by Johnson & Johnson while an investigation is conducted into a rare side effect that has reportedly led to blood clots in six of the more than six million recipients of the Janssen vaccine in the U.S., a reaction which appeared six to 13 days after receiving the vaccine. All of the vaccine recipients who later experienced blood clots were women between the ages of 18 and 48,

Hutchinson said that Arkansas will follow that recommendation, and that the vaccines on hand are “appropriately stored” in the event that they may be administered later.

“It remains effective,” Hutchinson said, referring to those who may have received the Janssen vaccine already. “You have got a vaccination that works.They should not have any worry.”

On Monday, the state health department reported 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 across the state, along with 325,794 cases classed as “recovered.” Of the active cases in the state, 161 have been admitted to a hospital, with 54 requiring intensive care and 21 requiring the aid of a ventilator. As of Monday, 12 of those cases were from the Northwest Arkansas region, with eight in the ICU and two on ventilators.

In Carroll County, the number of cases increased by nine in the past week, rising to 2,771, a number that includes 2,351 confirmed cases, 16 active cases and 2,710 reported recoveries.

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