Harrison, Arkansas (KY3)-Health leaders in Arkansas report a surge in COVID-19 infections.
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.
Everyone wants to spend a normal Christmas with their family.
“My daughter came for Thanksgiving, she came for Christmas, and she was vaccinated,” said a resident of Boon County.
Increasing cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas and some parts of the country raise concerns about the possibility of another surge.
“Currently, the increase in the number of cases of the Omicron variant is skyrocketing, overtaking the Delta variant,” explained Dr. Jennifer Dilaha, Chief Medical Officer of ADOH. “These signs indicate that people now need to be vaccinated.”
On Friday, Arkansas, 1,700 new cases are the highest in total for the day since September 24th. And just this week, the state has surpassed 9,000 deaths from the virus. Only two COVID-19 cases in the state have been attributed to the Ozarkmicron variant, but health officials say they know that due to testing restrictions, the numbers are much higher.
“We have no way of knowing when someone tested positive for COVID-19. This is the variant they have,” said Dr. Dillaha. “It takes a few weeks to get those results, but it’s too late.”
Schools in the state are also increasingly sending several students home early for Christmas holidays, such as the Flippin School District, after a dramatic surge in one building. Returning to the last two weeks of the session, we expect a vacation break that will serve as a period of quarantine.
“We’re back on January 3rd,” said director Kelvin Hudson. “We prioritize having students learn directly, but we make those decisions with the safety of our students and our community at the forefront.”
One positive sign is that there are currently 491 hospitalizations with COVID-19, much less than in September, but health officials fear that the number of cases could rise further.
“We also want hospitals to be aware of what the local patterns are, and we try to keep them up to date on a regular basis,” said Dr. Dilaha. “In the past, we have taken steps to improve our capacity when hospitalizations surge. Hospitals know what they do and what they need to prepare for.”
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