LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose R. Romero update the public on the state’s response to the coronavirus, including the latest cases of COVID-19 and deaths.
Governor Hutchinson started the press conference by pointing out that new cases and active cases have both slowed down, but unfortunately the deaths remain high at 43 reported Tuesday.
Hutchinson also reported that the state has received or allocated 374,300 vaccine doses and have given 154,235 of those.
The long-term care federal program serving Arkansans has been allocated 80,700 doses but has only administered 6,626 (or 8.2%).
Hutchinson said, “We’ve had a significant decline in the 7-day rolling average of new COVID cases in Northwest Arkansas, a decline in the Central and Northeast regions, and flat but low levels in the Southeast and Southwest. We still have the virus in every region.”
Dr. Romero says they are actively looking to see if the new COVID variant is in Arkansas. He says they’ve sent 8 specimens to the CDC and are waiting on results.
Romero says this variant is, “50-70% more transmissible.” Romero says the means of controlling the new strain is as simple as wearing a mask and maintaining social distance.
Education Secretary Johnny Key announced a new statewide resources portal that can be used to locate specific support within communities for students.
Secretary Key says Arkansas had $4.6 million in additional claims for COVID emergency leave beyond what the original CARES Act funds could cover, but new federal funding can be used to offset those costs and they will seek that money from the General Assembly.