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Arkansas reports 383 new covid cases Sunday but also high number of vaccinations

Health care professionals have administered another 8,297 doses of covid-19 vaccines — a higher-than-average number for a Sunday report, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

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Another 383 cases of the virus were reported, the Health Department posted Sunday afternoon on Twitter. A total of 533,356 cases have been reported in Arkansas since the pandemic began in March 2020. Nearly 97% of infected people have recovered, according to the department’s online data.

As of Sunday, 51.2% of Arkansans 5 years old and up, or 1,456,859, were fully vaccinated and 11.7% were partially immunized, according to Health Department data. More than 322,860 individuals have received their third dose or booster shot.

Sundays have been typically the lowest in the number of administered doses reported, with an average of 5,745 on Sundays last month.

“We had another good day for vaccines in today’s report. Thank you to everyone who is doing their part to keep themselves and their community safe,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in his daily social media post about covid-19.

The Republican governor encouraged everyone to keep the momentum going this week for first doses and booster shots.

“The covid-19 vaccine is our best shot, Arkansas, at reducing the spread of covid in our community,” the Conway Regional Health System posted Sunday evening on Twitter. “We encourage everyone to get the vaccine — and don’t forget to get your second dose.”

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According to the medical center and other medical experts, the vaccines will not give people covid-19 or cause positive virus test results. People who have had covid-19 may benefit from getting vaccinated and can help prevent illness from the virus.

“Receiving an mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA,” the medical center said in its post.

Vaccinations can be scheduled with Conway Regional by calling (501) 506-2747. Sites around the state can be found online at the Department of Health’s interactive covid-19 Vaccination Locations map and table.

Of the new cases, Benton County had the most with 46, followed by Pulaski County with 44 cases and Washington County with 26.

The department reported no change in active-case numbers from Saturday, at 7,555 – a 414-case increase from Friday.

Active cases have been trending slightly upward since early November but are still a bit lower than at the beginning of October, when cases were in the 8,000 to 9,000 range. About 76% of reported active cases involve individuals who aren’t fully vaccinated.

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State Health Department officials have said vaccinations could be trending up for many reasons, including people seeing the uptick in cases or the news about the omicron variant.

Omicron is the latest global variant and has been reported in nearly one-third of states, including in Missouri, according to a Reuters tally Sunday evening.

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In Arkansas, the number of reported deaths related to covid-19 increased by 18 on Sunday, bringing the total to 8,739 deaths since March 2020. Of those, 74% of deaths occurred in those 65 years and older and 15% were in those 55 to 64 years old. The percentage of deaths continued to decrease with age.

Hospitalizations went down by two, to 432, from Saturday’s count — which had been the ninth daily increase in a row. Of those patients Sunday, 83 were on ventilators, a decrease of one.

Since Feb. 1, those not fully vaccinated have accounted for 85.7% of total cases, 87.7% of hospitalizations and 85.7% of deaths in the state, according to Health Department data.