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. 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 279,220 confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data posted Jan. 22. State health officials have reported 4,496 covid-19 deaths and 254,076 recoveries. Officials also reported that Arkansas has distributed 186,105 doses of the covid-19 vaccine.
• In a Jan. 20 statement, Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted a drop in the number of active cases in Arkansas, and the fourth consecutive day of decline. That number fell by 549, to 20,391.
• A surplus of vaccines was allocated to Walgreens and CVS for residents and workers at long-term-care facilities, Hutchinson said Jan. 19. Col. Robert Ator, coordinator of Arkansas' vaccine effort, said state officials hoped to redirect about 30,000 of the doses to make them available to the broader population now eligible for the vaccine. He added that the companies should be finished administering second doses of the vaccine at long-term care facilities by the end of this month.
• Hutchinson received his first dose of the vaccine Jan. 18, alongside his wife, Susan Hutchinson, Health Secretary Jose Romero, and four teachers. People aged 70 and older and school employees including child care workers and higher education staff became eligible for the vaccine Jan. 18. Pharmacists reported demand for the vaccine was higher than the number of doses they received.
• Officials continued to advise caution and measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing to keep case numbers down. Hutchinson asked that Arkansans avoid large gatherings – especially on the Feb. 7 Super Bowl – to avoid upticks observed after previous holidays.