As our state deals with the spread of covid-19 in the midst of a global outbreak, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will publish five things you need to know each week. You can read our full coverage at nwaonline.com/coronavirus/. Coronavirus coverage pertaining to crucial public health information will be available for all readers.
Here are this week’s five important things to know about the coronavirus.
• Arkansas has recorded 335,529 confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data available April 30. State health officials have reported 5,735 covid-19 deaths and 327,777 recoveries. Officials also reported that Arkansas has given 1,694,919 doses of the covid-19 vaccine.
• As the pace of coronavirus vaccinations in Arkansas continues to slow, state Epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha said April 28 that Arkansas likely will order less than its full allocation of vaccines from the federal government next week, for the second week in a row.
• Gov. Asa Hutchinson said April 27 that employers should educate workers about the importance of getting vaccinated and give them time off to do it. He encouraged employers to organize vaccine clinics at work places or give employees the chance to go to a pharmacy to get shots. Hutchinson also called on schools to help with the effort to get children ages 16 and up vaccinated.
• Variants continue to spread in Arkansas, and one from the United Kingdom is of particular concern because it is more transmissible and more deadly than the original covid-19 strain, State Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said April 27.
• Johnson & Johnson's one-shot covid-19 vaccine was cleared again for use in Arkansas on April 26, 13 days after a nationwide pause on the vaccine’s use after a few people outside the state developed blood clots. Romero said this week that the benefits of the shot far outweigh the risk, which is small.