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State's covid numbers decline as weather delays vaccinations, testing

by Andy Davis | February 11, 2021 at 4:57 p.m.
Nick Kitchens, a registered nurse for University of Arkansas at Little Rock Health Services, looks over a covid-19 test during a screening Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 at Donaghey Student Center.

The winter storm that hit Arkansas caused delays in coronavirus vaccinations and testing on Thursday as the state's daily case increases and hospitalizations continued trending downward.

The state's count of cases rose Thursday by 1,103, the sixth consecutive daily increase that was smaller than the one a week earlier.

The number of patients hospitalized with covid-19 fell for the fourth straight day, dropping Thursday by 23, to 712, the lowest level since Nov. 6.

After increasing slightly on Wednesday, the number of patients on ventilators fell Thursday by 21, to 117.

The state's death toll from the virus since March, as tracked by the Arkansas Department of Health, rose by 25, to 5,199.

"For the second day in a row, we see a decrease of over 50% in new cases from last week," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement.

"Vaccine administration has progressed throughout the state, with an increase of over 94,000 since last week. We must continue doing our part in this fight."

Icy roads caused some vaccination clinics and appointments that had been scheduled for Thursday to be postponed.

The Health Department said several of its local health units were closed. The ones that were open were not offering polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing, because a courier service used to get the samples to the department's laboratory in Little Rock was not operating.

Antigen testing was available at open health units for patients with symptoms, department spokeswoman Danyelle McNeill said.

More details in Friday's Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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