Gov. Hutchinson lobbying for more vaccine; COVID-19 cases rise again

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 390 views 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday (Jan. 26) he had an “optimistic” call with the White House COVID-19 coordinator on receiving more vaccines, saying that a consistent and increasing supply is needed for more efficient vaccine distribution.

More vaccines are certainly needed to contain the ongoing virus spread in Arkansas. New reported COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations all rose in Tuesday’s report from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Confirmed and probable cases rose by 2,485, bringing the cumulative total to 287,187. Tuesday’s new cases are above the 1,854 on the previous Tuesday.

Active confirmed and probable cases rose by 366 to 18,158, and deaths rose by 40 to 4,690. The ADH also reported 83 available ICU beds as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, down from 85 on Monday.

Gov. Hutchinson said during his weekly COVID briefing on Tuesday that he spoke Monday with Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 coordinator for President Joe Biden, to learn more about the vaccine supply. The Biden administration continues to say it struggles with information left by the Trump administration to ascertain how much supply is available and plans to manufacture more vaccines.

Published reports Tuesday afternoon suggested the Biden Administration is working to buy another 200 million doses that could increase the estimated summer supply by 50%. If the vaccines are able to be acquired, the amount could provide vaccines to all eligible Americans by the end of summer or early fall.

President Biden announced Tuesday they would be able to soon release 1.4 million more vaccinations per week – roughly a 15% increase – than originally estimated. The President also said states will have “a reliable three week forecast” of vaccine supply so they can better organize distribution efforts.

Gov. Hutchinson also said he was planning to be on a call Tuesday afternoon between Biden administration officials and the National Governors Association to discuss vaccine availability. Gov. Hutchinson is a vice-chair of the NGA.

“We are constrained by supply. We can only get it out into the arms of Arkansans based upon the supply that we get from the manufacturer that’s controlled by the federal government that allocates it out to the states. We have had a consistent supply thus far, but it has not been increasing each week,” Gov. Hutchinson said about the need for more vaccines.

The state has received 410,175 vaccines since federal distribution began Dec. 14, including 72,825 delivered within the past 24 hours. Of those, 37,125 are reserved for first doses and the remaining are held for the second dose. Vaccines administered in the previous 24 hours rose by 12,457 to 227,074, or 55.4% of vaccines received.

The federal program in which CVS and Walgreens are managing vaccinations in nursing homes and other long term care facilities has received 49,400 vaccines since Dec. 28. Vaccines administered rose by 61 to 6,982, or 14.3% of vaccines received.

New known COVID-19 cases, active cases, tests
• 229,727 known cumulative PCR cases, with 1,306 new community cases and 11 reported cases in correctional facilities
• 57,460 probable cases, up from 55,292 on Monday
• There are 12,755 active cases, up from 12,621 on Monday
• There were 5,530 test results provided in the previous 24 hours.
• There were 4,959 antigen tests in the previous 24 hours.

• 3,810, up 32
• 880 probable COVID-related deaths, up 8

1,095, up 11

176, down 11

Recovered cases

The top five counties with new known cases reported Tuesday were: Pulaski (383), Benton (224), Washington (199), Sebastian (193), and Garland (127). The counties accounted for 45.3% of the 2,485 new confirmed and probable cases.

As of Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., there were 25,362,794 U.S. cases and 423,010 deaths. Globally, there were 100,032,461 cases and 2,149,818 deaths.