State trails national average in vaccinations
After weeks of single-digit increases, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Carroll County rose by 15 in the past week, rising to 2,786 reported, including 2,361 lab-confirmed cases, 19 active cases, and 2,722 cases that have been classified as “recovered.”
More than 20 new deaths related to complications from the novel coronavirus since last week were reported in Arkansas on Monday, bringing the statewide death toll to 5,718. In Carroll County, after an additional death reported last week, the local death toll held steady at 45.
Monday’s report from the the Arkansas Department of Health showed the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past week increased by 1,254, down slightly from 1,299 last week, and 1,392 the week before, bringing the total number to 334,706, including 262,241 lab-confirmed cases.
Two weeks ago, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state was “at a crossroads,” and “in a race against time” to get Arkansans vaccinated before the rising number of cases of the novel coronavirus hit a second peak.
On April 20, speaking during his weekly news conference from Little Rock, he doubled down on that message, saying the state has to do much better. Citing vaccination reports from the state health department, Hutchinson pointed out that 41.7 percent of Arkansans are least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, a number he said was encouraging, but still too low. In the past week, that number has risen only slightly to a reported 42.2 percent.
“That’s some good news that is going up at that level,” Hutchinson said. “But I will say also that this is below the national average. I think part of it is just some natural resistance in the south in a rural state, and it shows that we have some of that resistance to overcome. We’re below the national average. There’s vaccines out there and it’s a demand issue. We would need to increase that percent. We’re getting closer to the 50 percent and then we’re going to work real hard to get it closer to the 60 and 70 percent that we want.”
As of Monday, the ADH reported that the state has received a total of 2,468,010 doses of vaccine, with 1,643,649 doses already administered, or 66.6 percent of the state’s current stockpile.
To date, 695,341 state residents aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated — 29.28 percent — while another 334,706 (12.91 percent) are waiting to receive their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
“We’ve got to work harder on the 18-to-64 age group,” Hutchinson said. “Those people that believe they’re very healthy, they’re very busy, and they put it off and they say, ‘Well, we can do it later.’ We need you to get vaccinated for the good of the state, for the good of the community and your own health.”
Statewide, the number of hospitalizations because of the virus has decreased, with 152 of the state’s 1,922 active cases requiring admission. Of that total, 67 are reportedly in intensive care, with 24 requiring the aid of a ventilator.