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Watch: Arkansas Dept. of Health discusses spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Ozarks Today anchor Jackie Garrity discusses the recent spike in Covid cases and hospitalizations in Arkansas with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Dillaha.
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 9:42 AM CST
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LITTLE ROCK, AR. (KY3) - In one day, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arkansas rose up 184 to 1,817, breaking a new record. Gov. Asa Hutchinson called in the National Guard this week to help with short-staffed hospitals in the state.

“Well, just recently, yesterday, we saw the active cases go down and we’re hoping that will continue,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Chief Medical Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health. “We don’t know yet, of course, and we have a long way to go because the number of cases is so high and so for that reason we’re still encouraging people to become fully vaccinated and boosted because of all of the active cases since the beginning of December when Omicron started circulating, only about 3% of the active cases are people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted.”

Arkansas remains towards the bottom of the U.S. in vaccinations at 52.39%. The state reported 1,300 new doses given Monday.

“Well, I’m concerned that people may not feel it’s necessary,” said Dr. Dillaha. “It’s widely spread that the Omicron variant is quote, “mild” but what that means is that the disease it causes is milder than the Delta Variant. But there are still many, many people who experience severe illness with the Omicron variant and I’m afraid people have that misconception.”

During a weekly briefing Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the number of hospitalizations in the state fell by 32 in the last 24 hours to 1,785.

“People are dying from COVID-19,” said Dr. Dillaha. “They’re not dying from the vaccine. Very few people, relatively speaking, who are fully vaccinated end up in the hospital compared to the people who are not vaccinated, and even fewer end up in the hospital that have been fully vaccinated and boosted. So it’s a much safer approach to getting immunity.”

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