As our state deals with the spread of covid-19 in the midst of a global outbreak, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will publish five things you need to know each week. We'll be publishing these roundups in English, Spanish and Marshallese. 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 314,445 confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data posted Friday. State health officials have reported 5,323 covid-19 deaths and 301,772 recoveries. Officials also reported that Arkansas has given 493,776 doses of the covid-19 vaccine.
• Snowy weather continued to hamper Arkansas' coronavirus testing and vaccination efforts this week. A health department spokesman said the weather appeared to be the cause of a delay affecting the delivery of 13,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
• The state next week will receive its biggest increase so far in its weekly allocation of coronavirus vaccine from the federal government, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing that, in addition to increasing the amount of vaccine going to states, the administration was doubling the vaccine going to Walmart and other retailers under a federal program.
• The Arkansas Department of Health revised its rules so that indoor events with up to 100 people can occur without submitting a plan to the department for approval, Hutchinson announced Tuesday. Since Jan. 2, organizers of events with more than 10 people had been required to submit plans. The stricter limit on events had originally been scheduled to expire March 1. Along with the revised limit, the Health Department this week also published separate rules for events with 100 or fewer people that cover venues such as movie theaters and convention centers.
• The Health Department has also changed its rules to allow tournaments for "close-contact" school and community team sports as long as the Health Department approves a plan outlining precautions that will be taken, Hutchinson said Tuesday.