Coronavirus in Ark.: ADH officials give update on state’s COVID-19 cases, encourages Arkansans to get a flu shot

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Secretary of Health Dr. Josè Romero and State Epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha gave an update on COVID-19 cases in the state Thursday afternoon and encouraged Arkansans to get the flu vaccine.

Governor Asa Hutchinson is in Washington, D.C. Thursday for a Council of Governors event.

As of Thursday afternoon, there are 47,028 total COVID-19 cases and 515 deaths in the state, according to Secretary of Health Dr. Josè Romero. That is an increase of 735 cases and seven deaths since Wednesday.

According to Dr. Romero, 691 of the new cases are from communities and 44 are from correctional facilities.

Romero said the top counties for new cases are Pulaski County (73), Craighead County (69), Sebastian County (62), Poinsett County (27), Benton County (24), Garland County (24), Crittenden County (23), Mississippi County (23), Greene County (22) and Saline County (21).

There are currently 6,958 active cases of the virus in the state- with 71 in nursing homes, 548 in correctional facilities and 6,339 in communities.

Romero said there are currently 514 hospitalizations in Arkansas due to the coronavirus, a decrease of two from Wednesday.

According to the Secretary of Health, five additional people are on ventilators in the state due to the coronavirus, bringing the total to 111.

Dr. Romero said 39,555 people have recovered from the virus in Arkansas.

According to Romero, there were 4,514 tests completed Wednesday.

The positivity rate is 8.6%.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha talked about the importance of getting vaccinated for the flu.

Dillaha said it’s very important to get the flu shot this year.

“You don’t want to have COVID and the flu at the same time,” Dillaha said.

According to Dillaha, getting the vaccine can decrease the chance of having to go to the hospital with the flu.

Each year, about half of Arkansans that are recommended to get a flu shot actually get it, according to Dr. Dillaha.

Dillaha says the Department of Health would like for the percentage of Arkansans that receive the flu shot be more than 50% this year.

The flu vaccine will be available next month, according to Dillaha.

Dillaha announced Thursday there will be drive-thru flu vaccines all over the state starting September 21, then schools will have vaccines the following week.

Dillaha said one misconception she hears all of the time is that the vaccine either doesn’t work at all or that it completely works. According to the state epidemiologist, if you get the flu, it won’t have as big of an impact as it could because the immune system has gotten a headstart.

During Wednesday’s daily update, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he named Dr. Romero as the Secretary of Health.

The governor also announced a plan to test all inmates in state custody by the end of the month.

Education Commissioner Johnny Key also announced a call center for parents and teachers.

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