Case update: Arkansas COVID-19 cases increase by 844 Monday, state announces 42 new deaths

The Arkansas Department of Health announced that COVID-19 cases in Arkansas increased by 844 on Monday. Over the weekend, the state announced 1,984 new cases on Sunday, and 1,339 on Saturday.

Hospitalizations were up by 81 on Monday, up 34 on Sunday, and up 18 on Saturday, bringing the total number of patients hospitalized in the state to 1,220.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressed concern about the rise in hospitalizations on Monday.

"Today’s increase in hospitalizations is the highest increase we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic," he posted on Twitter Monday. "We continue to see nearly all hospitalizations among the unvaccinated. Do your part to help. Hospitals are full & the only remedy is for more Arkansans to be vaccinated."

Martine Downs Pollard, Executive Director for Communications at Mercy Hospital in NWA also expressed concern in a Facebook Post on Monday.

"Today we've reached another all-time high, caring for 165 COVID-19 patients," she said. "A dramatic increase of almost 600% increase over 6 wks. Our youngest is 12 years old. The average is 39 years old. Over 99% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 are eligible to get the vaccine. 95% of those eligible are not vaccinated."

There are currently 250 patients in the state on ventilators, up 15 since Sunday.

The state also announced 42 new deaths on Monday, 16 on Sunday, and 18 on Saturday, bringing the total number of deaths in the state as a result of the pandemic to 6,199. The 42 deaths announced Monday are the most since early February.

There are currently 18,922 cases of COVID-19 considered active in the state, which includes those that have tested positive by both PCR and antigen testing methods. The ADH dashboard currently lists 1,363 active cases in Washington County and 1,463 in Benton County.

There were 3,690 PCR tests and 1,025 antigen tests announced Monday.

The new cases bring the total cumulative count in Arkansas to 389,280 since the pandemic began.

The state announced that 3,609 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, bringing the total number of doses given by the state to 2,355,920. The state lists 313,783 as partially immunized, and 1,062,687 individuals as fully immunized.

Arkansas continues to lag behind the rest of the country in vaccinations. According to the New York Times vaccine tracker, Arkansas is ranked 48th with just 37% of the population being reported as fully vaccinated.

Arkansas is averaging 1,901 new cases per day, or 63 per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks. The state is currently ranked third worst among states in the per 100,000 category over that time, according to the Times. Cases in the state are up 74% over the last 14 days.

By comparison, Vermont - who has at least partially vaccinated nearly 75% of its population - is only reporting about 41 new cases per day, or seven for every 100,000 residents.

All Arkansans ages 12 and older are currently eligible for a vaccine.

Those who need assistance locating a vaccine can call 1-800-985-6030.

The top counties for new cases on Friday were Pulaski (172), Washington (73), and Benton (56).