Arkansas’ highest one-day covid death toll in a year tops 10,000

More than 10,000 Arkansans have now died of covid-19 in nearly two years, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Health.

The department reported 48 new deaths on Saturday, the highest single-day number in more than a year, as 52 deaths were reported on January 27, 2021.

A total of 10,025 Arkansans have died from the virus since March 2020.

Even so, the number of cases and hospitals has been falling of late, with Saturday’s drop of 102 hospitalizations being the second-largest the state has seen, following Tuesday’s 118.

There were 26 fewer patients in intensive care on Saturday, totaling 349, and 22 fewer on ventilators, totaling 168, according to Health Department data. Saturday was the fifth day in a row to see fewer intensive care patients.

Active or currently infectious cases fell by 958 on Saturday. The total of 20,559 active cases was the lowest since December 30, 2021, and just over half the total a week earlier, which was 41,069.

Governor Asa Hutchinson noted the downward trends in his daily Twitter statement regarding Saturday’s data.

“Vaccines are also on the rise,” Hutchinson said. “Let’s continue these trends in the coming week.”

The 3,700 injections administered on Saturday were the most the state has seen in a week and a half, according to Health Department data. Since January 1, 92,310 Arkansans have received booster shots for a total of 531,598 people with third shots.

About 500 people turned up at a city-run vaccination clinic in southwest Little Rock on Saturday, seeking their first, second or booster. It was the sixth clinic to be held at the Southwest Community Center, said town chief executive Joan Adcock, and it offered Pfizer injections to anyone 5 and older. Vaccine recipients also received $50 VISA gift cards as an incentive.

Southwest Little Rock resident Rigo Esparza said the gift cards were “killing two birds with one stone.”

He and his wife, Yury Recinos, and their 14-year-old daughter received their booster shots at the clinic on Saturday. They moved to the Riverside County area in Southern California about three months ago, Recinos said.

She said she saw more caution about covid-19 in her family’s new home compared to the old one.

“There are many people [here] who still have their masks on,” she said.

The clinic ran out of vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, Adcock said, so she and volunteers running the clinic directed families to nearby Walgreens, Walmart and Kroger, and notified stores.

“They come back here and show us the card, and we give them the $50 the kid would have gotten here,” Adcock said. “That way we won’t let a kid down, and the companies have been great helping us with that today.”

Ten of the 30 volunteers spoke Spanish, as southwest Little Rock has a large Hispanic and Latino population. Carmen Rivera, who works for the city’s parks and recreation department, was one of the translators.

Shortly before the clinic was supposed to end at 5 p.m., Rivera asked a Spanish-speaking family with children aged 7 and 10 to get their shots at another location and come back at 5.30 p.m. for their cards. -gifts.

Rivera said efforts to get residents of southwest Little Rock, where she also lives, vaccinated have been “consistent” over the past year. Some people have been hesitant to get vaccinated due to misinformation claiming the vaccine is dangerous, she said.

“But if one of them dies, then they come and [get] the vaccine,” Rivera said. “It’s the only way they move.

Adcock said those who received their first shots on Saturday can get their second shots at a later clinic the city will coordinate, likely in four weeks instead of three, because the Little Rock Marathon on March 5 would make it difficult to hold a clinic that day.

Bill Kemp, a retired pharmacist, prepares doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine Saturday at an immunization clinic at the Southwest Community Center in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

Gallery: Southwest Community Clinic

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