COVID-19 case numbers trending lower; pharmacy association warns of limited vaccine availability

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 784 views 

Close up of a young woman getting vaccinated.

The number of new known COVID-19 cases continues to decline, with Monday’s (Jan. 18) report showing 1,109 cases, down from 1,268 reported the previous Monday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).

The ADH report of 1,109 new confirmed and probable cases in the previous 24 hours brings the cumulative total to 272,263. Active confirmed and probable cases fell by 2,093 to 22,794, and deaths rose by 32 to 4,343. Hospitalizations fell by 8 to 1,263, well below the record of 1,371 that was set the previous Monday.

“There are 1,109 new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas. Today is a critical step as we move into phase 1-B of vaccination. This will allow Arkansans aged 70 and older and education workers to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.

Gov. Hutchinson recently said the state will begin implementing parts of phase 1b of the state’s vaccine plan on Monday instead of waiting until Jan. 31. Phase 1a includes high priority health care workers, nursing home residents and staff, first responders, and K-12 health clinics and nurses. Phase 1b includes those who are 70 or older and frontline essential workers such as teachers and school staff, food and agri workers and any emergency workers not included in 1a. There are an estimated 440,000 Arkansans in phase 1b.

But the vaccination plan is not going as fast as initially expected. A Jan. 15 note from the Arkansas Pharmacists Association’s Facebook page indicates the first two phases of the state’s vaccine plan could take up to three months unless the state receives “WAY more doses.”

“The COVID-19 vaccine is only arriving in Arkansas in very limited quantities of on average 500 doses per county (some counties actually get 100 and the largest more than 3000 based on population). At this rate, this is 1 in 12 age 70 and over plus educators getting vaccinated per WEEK. Until the federal government sends Arkansas WAY more doses, it will take 2 to 3 months to vaccinate the 443,000 Arkansans age 70+ and educators. We are hopeful that the supply will dramatically increase in 2 weeks,” the association reported.

The state has received 275,000 vaccines since federal distribution began Dec. 14. Vaccines administered in the previous 24 hours rose by 2,940 to 133,962, or 48.7% of vaccines received.

New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 219,956 known cumulative PCR cases, with 983 new community cases and 5 reported cases in correctional facilities
• 52,307 probable cases, up from 52,186 on Sunday
• There are 16,747 active cases, down from 17,782 on Sunday
• There were 8,432 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 323 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours.

• 3,585, up 23
• 758 probable COVID-related deaths, up 9

1,263, down 8

216, down 5

Recovered cases

The top five counties with new known cases reported Monday were: Pulaski (155), Washington (125), Benton (117), Garland (61), and Jefferson (54). The counties accounted for 46.1% of the 1,109 new confirmed and probable cases.

As of Monday at 3:30 p.m., there were 24,034,378 U.S. cases and 398,484 deaths. Globally, there were 95,415,802 cases and 2,036,534 deaths.

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