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New Arkansas COVID-19 cases top 2,000, 1st time in 5 months

July 25, 2021 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — COVID-19 continues to rage through Arkansas as new day-over-day cases topped 2,000 for the first time since February.

State health officials reported 2,015 new cases Saturday as the highly contagious delta variant swept across the state, prompting the state to resume weekend daily updates. Another 1,022 were reported Sunday.

Forty-eight more COVID-19 cases required hospitalization over the weekend, and 13 more deaths were reported.

The state averaged 626 new cases a day per 100,000 population over the past two weeks, an increase of 140.7% and a rate that topped the nation’s states, according to Johns Hopkins University research data.

Although the Arkansas vaccination rate has been among the nation’s lowest, State Epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that 32,466 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered last week, the most since late April.

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“I do feel that people are now sensing an increased sense of urgency compared to where we were a month ago,” Dillaha said. “So many people who delayed vaccination have taken the step to get vaccinated, which gives me a lot of hope for shortening the duration of this surge.”

As of Sunday, the COVID-19 pandemic had caused 375,350 cases in Arkansas, killing 6,054 people. Of those total cases, 15,277 were active Sunday, according to state health officials. Meanwhile, 36% of the state population had completed their vaccinations, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.