LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Local health officials confirm Arkansas has reached its one millionth COVID-19 case, this comes close to the anniversary of when the state reported its first case nearly three years ago.

Since then, a lot has changed, and people are reflecting on their lives and businesses. 

Michelle Krause, a physician with UAMS says although the state has reached this level in COVID-19 cases there was some ground made. 

“We progressed over the first year, became vaccinated, and had natural immunity from a COVID infection, we became better protected from hospitalization, long COVID, and death,” Krause said. 

The pandemic led to a growing number of hospitalizations, more remote work and school; some even felt a sense of loneliness. 

“It was psychologically terrible, the isolation,” Arkansan Sandra Marbaise said.  

Marbaise also said that because of COVID-19, it put a halt on things that she likes to do like traveling. 

“I love to travel, and I just felt totally grounded. Traveling just went out the window,” Marbaise said. 

She also said that like many families who had to social distance because of the pandemic, there were some things they missed. 

“During COVID, we also missed a lot of family get-togethers.” Marbaise adds. “I had twins graduating in 2020, and it pretty much shut down all of the graduation trips.”

Justin Haley, General Manager of Gus’s World-Famous Fried Chicken said social distancing and the limited number of people that were going out also put a strain on their business. Which is why he said they had to get creative to keep customers coming back. 

“We started doing the curb side. I think we started working more heavily with Door Dash and Uber Eats,” Haley said.  

Haley also said those options will be sticking around for customers, even though he is happy things are starting to get back to normal. He says one of those signs was when they stopped requiring staff to wear masks.

“Probably mid-2022 that’s kind of when everyone got comfortable dropping the mask,” Haley said. 

Marbaise said that although she is also glad things are starting to go back to normal, she doesn’t forget about the people who died during the pandemic. 

“I had a classmate pass away and my parents know more people who have died,” Marbaise said.  

She said she is grateful that all of her family is still with her and that they’re all vaccinated. 

“I have learned you never know what is coming around the corner,” Marbaise said. 

“The number of COVID infections is likely higher than 1 million because many of the positive home tests have not been reported,” Krause said.

Krause suggested that everyone get vaccinated, especially those with underlying health conditions.