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COVID-19 cases increase in Arkansas, Missouri following Thanksgiving gatherings

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:03 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Arkansas health leaders have reported nearly another 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday. Missouri health leaders added another 2,200 cases.

The rise in cases comes as the U.S. reports its first case of the omicron variant in California. White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the patient, who was fully vaccinated, had just returned to the San Francisco area on November 22 after traveling in South Africa.

“The best protection against omicron is getting your booster shot,” said President Joe Biden in a news conference Wednesday. “Right now about 125 million Americans are eligible for a booster, but only about 41 million have gotten one thus far.”

Yet to be seen in the Midwest, cases of the Delta variant are still on the rise following Thanksgiving. It was a spike health officials anticipated.

“We know with the winter months more people are forced inside when compared to the summer months where you’re outside and more spaced,” said Whitney Mann with the Greene County Health Department.

Arkansas health leaders reported 400 new hospitalization this week.

″It may be an unpopular opinion around here, but I’m vaccinated,” said one Arkansan. “I got my shot the first day I could, I believe the vaccine protects against COVID-19.”

With numbers increasing following gatherings, opinions are mixed on how that affects the rest of the holiday plans.

“Right now I have a compromised immune system so, I just have to be careful but we do celebrate,” said Sylvann Fuller of Harrison. “My daughter came for Thanksgiving and she will come for Christmas. But she has been vaccinated.”

“I’m not too sure about this COVID-19 at all, I feel comfortable with or without it.,” said John Wayman Christian.

While everyone wants to get with family for the holidays, not everyone wants to get vaccinated. In Arkansas, the vaccination rate has remained near 50% for several months.

Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said part of the increase may have come from people waiting until after Thanksgiving to get tested.

”If this continues, we are definitely in another surge,” said Dr. Romero.

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