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Arkansas daily covid cases, hospitalizations continue climb

Hospitalizations rise to 146, highest count since March 23 by Andy Davis | June 9, 2022 at 4:30 a.m.
Lily Douglas of Fayetteville turns in a swab to get tested for covid-19 on Feb. 1 at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Fayetteville. The city's Board of Health agreed Wednesday the region appeared to be in a good spot virus-wise with hospitalizations and active cases at their lowest levels in months. (File photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. Wampler)

Arkansas' count of coronavirus cases rose Wednesday by 887, the second daily increase in a row that was the largest since March, while the number of covid-19 patients in the state's hospitals rose by double-digits for the third straight day.

The number hospitalized rose by 11, to 146, its highest level since March 23.

The state's death toll from the virus, as tracked by the Arkansas Department of Health, rose by three, to 11,511.

The increase in cases, which followed a spike of 805 cases on Tuesday, was almost twice the size of the rise the previous Wednesday.

Before Tuesday, the last time the state reported more than 800 new cases in a single day was March 19.

On that day, most of the 1,131 cases added to the state's count were from a backlog of reports that had been faxed in by providers weeks earlier, during the state's first wave of infections from the omicron variant.

"Today, again, unfortunately is no real surprise," State Epidemiologist Mike Cima said Wednesday, noting the upward trend in the state's new cases over the past few weeks.

"I think that all signs point to this continuing at least for a little bit."

He said the state's daily new case numbers will likely top 1,000, possibly as early as next week.

But he noted the number of people hospitalized, while rising, remains low compared to its level during previous coronavirus waves.

He said he's also encouraged that new cases have been declining in some states, particularly in the Northeast, that began experiencing upticks before Arkansas.

"With it being June, I think we'd all like to have a summertime where things were calm in covid realm," Cima said.

"For the time being, it's just important to point out that we are in fact increasing in our activity. Transmission is high within our communities, and I think it will stay that way for at least a little bit."

Cima said all the deaths reported Wednesday happened within the past month.

Already at its highest level since the week ending March 24, the average daily increase in the Arkansas' case count over a rolling seven-day period rose Wednesday to 569.

With new cases outpacing recoveries, the number of cases in the state that were considered active grew by 512, to 5,561, the largest total since Feb. 27.

It was the biggest one-day jump in the total since Jan. 22, during the initial omicron surge.

After rising by one on Tuesday, the number of the state's virus patients who were on ventilators rose again Wednesday by one, to five.

The number who were in intensive care, which fell the previous three days, rose by four, to 19.


In contrast to the statewide increase, the number of covid-19 patients at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock and Arkansas Children's Northwest in Springdale fell from nine on Tuesday to two on Wednesday, spokeswoman Hilary DeMillo said.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock had nine covid-19 patients on Wednesday; covid-19 hospitalizations at the facility have hovered near that level for the past several weeks, spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said.

One of the patients on Wednesday was in intensive care, but none were on ventilators, she said.

She said six of the nine patients had been vaccinated, although she didn't have information on whether they had had booster shots.

While the number of hospitalized patients hasn't changed much, UAMS has seen an increase in employees off work for reasons related to covid-19, such as testing positive or being quarantined due to exposure, Taylor said.

On Wednesday, 138 were off for virus-related reasons, up from 98 a week earlier and the largest number since mid-February.

"We have 11,000 employees, so that's not a big number, but it is more than we've had in the last few months," Taylor said.

She said the largest number of employees UAMS has had off due to covid-19 was 800 on Jan. 14.


Pulaski County had the most new cases, 197, on Wednesday, followed by Washington County with 71, Benton County with 60 and White County with 50.

The state's cumulative count of cases since March 2020 rose to 847,811.

The Health Department's tally of vaccine doses that had been administered rose by 1,777, including about 1,200 that went to people receiving a booster dose for the first time and 287 to people who were starting the vaccination process.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67.2% of Arkansans had received at least one dose as of Wednesday, up from 67.1% a day earlier.

The percentage who were fully vaccinated rose from 54.8% as of Tuesday to 54.9%.

Of those who were fully vaccinated, 40.4% had received a booster dose as of Wednesday, up from 40.3% a day earlier.

Among the states and the District of Columbia, Arkansas continued to rank 37th in the percentage of its residents who had received at least one dose.

In the percentage who were fully vaccinated, it remained roughly tied with Tennessee for 46th, ahead of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Wyoming.

Nationally, 78% of people had received at least one dose, and 66.7% were fully vaccinated.

Of the fully vaccinated population nationally, 47% had received a booster dose.

Print Headline: State’s covid cases climb by 887


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