Arkansas health leaders report highest daily COVID-19 cases since September

Arkansas sees highest single day total of new cases since September
Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 4:35 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 25, 2021 at 12:20 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Arkansas health leaders report a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 1,719 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and nearly 10,000 active cases of the virus reported.

Everyone wants to have a normal Christmas with family.

”My daughter came for Thanksgiving, she will come for Christmas and she has been vaccinated,” said a resident of Boone County.

With COVID-19 cases rising in Arkansas, and several parts of the country, concern grows towards another possible surge.

”So right now, the increase in the number of cases of the Omicron variant is skyrocketing, it’s overtaking the Delta variant,” explained Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, the chief medical officer with the ADOH. “These signs are showing that people need to take the opportunity to get vaccinated now.”

In Arkansas Friday, 1,700 new cases is the highest single-day total since September 24. And just this week the state surpassed 9,000 deaths from the virus. Only two COVID-19 cases in the state have been attributed to the Ozarks Omicron variant, but health officials say due to testing limitations, they know the number is much higher.

”We don’t have a way of knowing when someone tests positive for COVID-19, which variant they have,” said Dr. Dillaha. “It takes a couple of weeks to get the results on those, which is way too late.”

Schools in the state have also seen an increase in cases, such as Flippin School District, which last week sent several students home early for Christmas break after seeing a dramatic spike in a single building. Returning to the session past two weeks, it’s hopeful the holiday break with act as a period of quarantine.

”We’re back on the third of January,” said superintendent, Kelvin Hudson. “We prioritize having the students in-person to learn, but with the safety of students and our community on the forefront of those decisions.”

One positive sign, there are currently 491 hospitalizations from COVID-19, much lower than in September, yet health officials fear a further surge in cases is possible.

”We also want the hospitals to be aware of what the local patterns are, and we try to give them updates on a regular basis,” said Dr. Dillaha. “We’ve taken steps in the past in order to increase our capacity when we have a sharp increase in hospitalizations. The hospitals know what they need to do and to get ready.”

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