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State logs increase of 327 covid cases

Health officials report 14 more deaths by Tess Vrbin | March 7, 2021 at 3:16 a.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.

Covid-19 cases in Arkansas increased by 327 Saturday, a decline from Friday's increase of 570, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Also, the state's total active cases dropped by 136 from Friday to Saturday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted almost all of the Health Department's directives related to covid-19 on Feb. 26. The requirement to wear a mask in public places, however, is still in effect until at least the end of the month, after which Hutchinson said it will be lifted if certain targets are met.

[Interactive Arkansas map not showing up above? Click here to see it: arkansasonline.com/arvirus]

"Even though the directives are now guidance, we still need be mindful of the 3 W's," Hutchinson tweeted Saturday afternoon, referring to the covid safety guidelines of "wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance."

Hutchinson's tweet encouraged Arkansans to sign up for covid vaccinations if they are eligible. The state received roughly 24,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, Health Department spokesman Gavin Lesnick said, after the federal Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine on Feb. 27.

The Health Department will start administering the new vaccine Monday, Lesnick said.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

On Saturday, 18,144 vaccine doses were administered, raising Arkansas' total above 670,000. Nearly 17,000 vaccines were administered Friday.

The state reported 14 new deaths of covid-19 Saturday, bringing the total to 5,297 in almost a year.

Washington County saw the most new cases Saturday with 43, and Sebastian County had the second-most with 32.

The number of Arkansans hospitalized with covid-19 continues to decrease, with 345 patients Saturday compared with 359 Friday and 372 Thursday.

Of those 345 patients, 75 were on ventilators Saturday, a decrease of 11 from Friday.

Arkansas has seen a total of 324,653 covid cases since March 2020, according to Health Department data, and 4,160 cases are currently active.

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