JONESBORO — Despite severe winter weather impacting the state, more than 3,300 coronavirus vaccines were distributed Tuesday, the governor announced.
Arkansas is in vaccination phase 1-B, with health care providers administering doses to education and child care workers, as well as residents 70 years and older. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said officials are “every anxious” to vaccinate the currently eligible parties.
“Even with the terrible weather yesterday, we gave out 3,342 doses, which tells me the demand is there, people are looking for the opportunity to get their vaccination,” Hutchinson said. “I know the 70-plus (Arkansans) particularly are knocking on doors to get the vaccine.”
Seniors are often not plugged into the online world and even so, Arkansas Department of Health staffers are a call away to help, said Ret. Col. Robert Ator, the state’s vaccine distribution coordinator.
Ator advised that offline Arkansans should call the ADH COVID-19 Call Center at 800-803-7847. Someone will be able to direct them to local vaccination location to set an appointment, he said.
Since Dec. 14, 2020, 481,511 or nearly 67 percent of doses have been given statewide, according to ADH data.
In a meeting with governors, Hutchinson said President Joe Biden told them that the national supply will increase by 2.5 million doses, which would add 6,000 to 7,000 vaccines to Arkansas’ weekly allocation.
“We’re expecting to see those doses this week or next week,” he said.
The preventative shot provides hope for officials and residents alike, but ADH Secretary Jose Romero still expressed his concern about COVID-19 variants from Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom. With them spreading in the U.S., it’s only a matter of time before a case pops up in Arkansas, he said.
“Physical mitigation needs to continue and that means wearing our masks … physical distancing of six feet and washing our hands,” Romero said.
With testing “so depleted” due to weather, Hutchinson called the data he revealed Tuesday “insignificant.” The stated added 177 new cases from 2,232 tests and one dozen residents were added to the death toll, data shows.
Northeast Arkansas COVID-19 cases by county through Tuesday:
Clay: 32 active cases, 1,578 recoveries, 45 deaths.
Craighead: 256 active cases, 12,198 recoveries, 174 deaths.
Crittenden: 135 active cases, 5,384 recoveries, 92 deaths.
Cross: 31 active cases, 1,800 recoveries, 47 deaths.
Greene: 111 active cases, 5,568 recoveries, 74 deaths.
Jackson: 23 active cases, 3,068 recoveries, 33 deaths.
Lawrence: 40 active cases, 1,905 recoveries, 41 deaths.
Mississippi: 128 active cases, 5,260 recoveries, 112 deaths.
Poinsett: 61 active cases, 2,914 recoveries, 75 deaths.
Randolph: 27 active cases, 1,834 recoveries, 49 deaths.
Sharp: 21 active cases, 1,438 recoveries, 50 deaths.