Arkansas reports nearly 3,500 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths
Lambda variant detected in Arkansas, Dr. Romero says
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Saying vaccination is the best path to avoid hospitalizations, Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke Thursday about the state’s work to provide nearly 500,000 high-filtration masks to school children throughout the state.
The governor spoke to reporters during a media briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock.
Gov. Hutchinson said the state has seen 3,549 new cases reported since Wednesday, with 16 deaths, 38 additional hospitalizations, and five people on ventilators.
Gov. Hutchinson said the number of available ICU beds has gradually increased from 8 to 23 in recent days.
As for the masks, Gov. Hutchinson said the masks should be sent out at schools this week.
Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose R. Romero also spoke about a recent decision for a third booster shot.
Dr. Romero said he believes it will be a phased-in approach for the shot and that it may not be for everyone.
However, Dr. Romero said the Lambda variant form of COVID-19 has been detected in Arkansas.
Gov. Hutchinson also thanked school boards and school leadership around the state for their work on the issue.
Dr. Romero also said the state has not seen an increase in cases among any particular school as of Thursday.
As of Thursday, 118 of the state’s 262 school districts have a mask policy, while 87 do not and 57 have taken no formal action on the issue.
Gov. Hutchinson was asked about a recent lawsuit filed by parents in the Bentonville School District on the district’s decision over a mask mandate in the district.
He said he believes the case will end up in the state Supreme Court.
Also, officials said 51.2% of the state’s total population has received partial vaccination.
Watch the full briefing live on-air or online here>>>
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