Hospital tally dips; infections up by 674

Hospital tally dips; infections up by 674

The number of Arkansans hospitalized with covid-19 dropped by 10 Saturday after three consecutive days of increases, according to data published by the state Department of Health.

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However, the 306 hospitalizations Saturday were still 14 more than a week earlier.

The state reported 674 new cases of the virus Saturday, down from the past few days.

Active, or currently infectious, cases increased daily by at least 200 since Tuesday, and that increase means more hospitalizations are likely in the near future, Health Department communications director Meg Mirivel said in an email.

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Two fewer patients were on ventilators Saturday than on Friday, totaling 63, but the number of patients in intensive care increased for the second day in a row, adding seven and totaling 137.

“Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator; it usually takes several days past the initial infection for someone to become sick enough to need hospitalization,” Mirivel said. “The best way to keep hospitalizations down is to increase vaccination in the state and observe other precautions as needed, such as masking and social distancing.”

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The department reported 14,849 shots given Saturday, 3,595 more than Friday and 124 more than Nov. 13. Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted the increase in a Saturday tweet.

“As we continue to see cases increase from the week before and with Thanksgiving less than one week away, getting the vaccine has never been more important,” Hutchinson wrote.

Mirivel said vaccinations are especially important now because it takes several weeks for a person to become fully immunized after receiving the shot.

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A total of 260,912 Arkansans have received third doses of the covid-19 vaccine, according to Health Department data. All adults in the state became eligible for a booster shot on Nov. 15.

A total of 1,430,495, or 50.3%, of Arkansans ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated, according to Health Department data.

The state saw 58 fewer new cases Saturday than on Friday but 84 more than on Nov. 13. There have been 523,866 cases of covid-19 in Arkansas since March 2020.

Benton County had the most new cases Saturday with 71, Pulaski County had 58 and Washington County had 54.

The Health Department reported four new deaths of covid-19 Saturday, totaling 8,612.

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