First COVID-19 vaccine given in Arkansas; pandemic deaths rise to 2,990

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,181 views 

Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, who is also an emergency room physician, receives Monday (Dec. 14) one of the first COVID-19 vaccines in Arkansas.

Monday (Dec. 14) was referred to by many as the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a New York City nurse receiving the first COVID vaccine in the United States. In Arkansas, the first vaccine was given to Sherian Kwanisai at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) in Little Rock.

Kwanisai is nursing director of the Center for Local Public Health within the ADH.

The vaccine in Arkansas comes just over nine months from March 11 when Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued the public health emergency order that would close schools, restrict some business activities, mandate the use of face masks, regulate mass gatherings, and establish quarantine protocols – just to name a few actions taken under the emergency order.

Gov. Hutchinson reiterated Monday that the public must abide by public health guidelines to contain the pandemic that has hit the state hard in the past few months. It is estimated that it will be the latter part of the third quarter in 2021 before a majority of Americans have received a vaccine.

“Today is a hopeful day. After months of work, a COVID-19 vaccine is in Arkansas, and the first vaccine was given to Sherian Kwanisai today. The FDA should approve additional vaccines soon, and we will be set to cover our long-term care facilities. Brighter days are ahead, but we must continue to follow public health guidelines. This virus continues to rapidly spread, and it’s up to each of us to do our part to slow the spread,” Gov. Hutchinson said in a statement.

Sherian Kwanisai, nursing director of the Center for Local Public Health with the Arkansas Department of Public Health, was the first Arkansan to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The first vaccine also comes the same day another 45 Arkansans died from COVID-19. Total confirmed and probable deaths rose to 2,990 in Monday’s ADH report. Cumulative confirmed and probable cases rose by 1,355 to 187,057, and active confirmed and probable cases fell by 704 to 20,691.

COVID REPORT – Dec. 14
New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 160,356 known cumulative PCR cases, with 1,119 new community cases and 114 reported cases in correctional facilities
• 26,701 probable cases, up from 26,579 on Sunday
• There are 16,414 active cases, down from 16,646 on Sunday
• There were 9,244 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 925 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours.

Deaths
• 2,656, up 23
• 334 probable COVID-related deaths, up 22

Hospitalizations
1,050, down 7

Ventilators
180, down 1

Recovered cases
141,264

The top five counties with new known cases reported Monday were: Pulaski (194), Washington (102), Benton (95), Faulkner (66), and Saline (58). The counties accounted for 46% of the 1,119 new community cases.

As of Monday at 2 p.m., there were 16,351,259 U.S. cases and 299,889 deaths. Globally, there were 72,587,435 cases and 1,617,949 deaths.

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