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State covid cases rise by 1,331; governor updates on vaccine accessibility

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | January 19, 2021 at 4:49 p.m.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks during a covid-19 briefing Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.

Arkansas' count of coronavirus cases rose Tuesday by 1,331, a larger increase than the day before but less than half the size of the one the previous Tuesday.

The number of patients hospitalized with the virus rose by two, to 1,265.

Those patients included 209 who were on ventilators, down from 216 a day earlier.

The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Department of Health, rose by 43, to 4,386.

Meanwhile, at his weekly news conference on the virus, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said an "excess number of doses" had been allocated to Walgreens and CVS to vaccinate residents and workers at long-term care facilities in the state under a federal program, and that state officials were working to make those doses available to other Arkansans who are now eligible for shots.

"We are going to have some extra doses there that we’re working with our federal partners to make sure that we get this into our communities," Hutchinson said.

As of Tuesday morning, the national pharmacy chains had been allocated a total of 80,700 doses for Arkansas long-term care facilities but reported administering just 6,626 of those.

Col. Robert Ator, who is coordinating Arkansas' vaccine effort, said state officials hope to redirect about 30,000 of the doses to make them available to the broader population now available for shots.

Since Monday, that has included people age 70 and older and employees of schools and child care centers. Those groups make up part of Phase 1-B of the state's vaccination plan.

The first people to become eligible, under Phase 1-A, included health care workers, first responders and residents and workers at long-term care facilities.

Outside of the federal program, pharmacies and other providers reported having administered a total of 147,609 doses of the vaccine as of Tuesday morning, an increase of 13,647 compared to the total a day earlier.

Those numbers include some second doses that have been administered as part of vaccines' two-dose regimens.

Arkansas count of coronavirus cases rose by 1,109 on Monday and by 3,209 a week ago, on Jan. 12.

EARLIER:

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state health officials will provide an update on Arkansas' covid-19 response at 1:30 p.m.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas was at 272,263 Tuesday morning, according to a state website. The death toll remained at 4,343.

Check back to watch the live video.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to view » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gus2Cmye-aM]

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