Jackson County has been without any reported COVID-19 cases this week.

The county has had 3,210 confirmed and probable cases throughout the pandemic, and 38 deaths due to the virus.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 198 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Tuesday for a total of 333,709 since the pandemic began last year.

Active cases increased statewide to 15 on Tuesday for a total of 1,804, and the number of deaths in Arkansas due to the virus increased by seven for a total of 5,706.

Statewide, 177 people were hospitalized due to the virus, an increase of 13 from Monday. Among those, 24 were on ventilators, which is an increase of two. Benton County had the highest number of new COVID-19 cases, with 29, followed by Pulaski with 26, and Washington County with 22.

During his weekly news conference and update on the virus, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that the state continues to receive its federal allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, but added: “We need to increase the demand for our doses.”

Hutchinson has stated he wanted to reach one million people vaccinated in the state, either partially, or completely, this week. He said Tuesday that the state is about 27,000 away from that goal.

People age 18-64 is the age group Hutchinson said the state needs to work on to be vaccinated. The state also will be concentrating on getting youth vaccinated. Hutchinson said he has asked the department of health and department of education to encourage clinics in the schools.

Also concentrating on higher education, the state encourages college students to get vaccinated before they go home for summer break. Hutchinson said it’s the same with students who live in Arkansas but go to school in other states. They can get their second vaccine when they get home to Arkansas.

Arkansas continues to lag behind the national average for vaccinations.

Hutchinson said he was on a conference call with fellow governors who shared concerns about some people’s hesitancy to get the vaccination.

“But I believe it is a greater challenge in these Southern states and in rural states,” Hutchinson said. “And I think you can see that that there’s greater resistancy there that we have to overcome. And you overcome it with information. You overcome it with influencers and with examples being set. And making it as easy as possible for everyone to get the vaccine.”

Hutchinson said the state’s information campaign has helped increase participation by minority communities.

For example, he said 55.8 percent of the Hispanic adult population is being vaccinated.

“That’s the best, it’s a smaller population,” Hutchinson said. “The next one is the white population and that’s 49.1 percent of the white population in Arkansas is fully vaccinated. And then, if you look at the African-American category … that is 45.1 percent. And the storyline is if you looked at that one month ago, there was a 9.5 percent difference between African-Americans and white population in terms of vaccination. We’ve closed that gap down to 4 percent.”

Anyone can use the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Call Line at 1-800-985-6030 for assistance in finding where to be vaccinated.

Paxton Media Group contributed to this article.

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