Virus Cases on a Steady Rise
The first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were distributed last week, with Piggott Community Hospital getting 80 doses in their initial shipment. This week the first of the Moderna vaccine is being shipped across the nation. The new vaccines come on the scene as the virus continues to run rampant in the country, state and region and as Arkansas continues to see dozens of deaths each day. In the past several days the impact of the expected “Thanksgiving Spike” are being felt, although the number of those hospitalized has stabilized. Four additional deaths have also been reported in Clay County since last week, raising the toll to 28.
Statewide according to Tuesday's update, the total number of cases climbed to 205,048 up from 191,504 last Wednesday and some 1,941 in the previous 24 hours. The number of active cases was set at 21,979, down slightly from earlier this week, although the death toll climbed by 43. As of Tuesday, 3,338 deaths have been reported in Arkansas since the pandemic and health emergency began.
In Clay County the numbers are also on the rise, as the number of cases climbed from 1,162 last Wednesday to 1,224 by Tuesday afternoon. As of that report, a total of 119 of those were still active—down from 140. And as earlier mentioned, the death toll climbed to 28, with two additional deaths reported since Monday.
Last Wednesday morning the first shipment of vaccines was delivered to Piggott Community Hospital, with chief medical officer Dr. J.T. Dewitt getting the first shot, and hospital administrator and CEO James L. Magee second. (see additional story) But, officials note it will still be weeks, if not months, until the vaccines are made available widespread. They strongly recommend continued caution, especially in light of the coming Christmas and New Year's holidays. The CDC and ADH also continue to urge all those who have come in contact with a person who has tested positive, or later tested positive, to be tested. Those individuals are also instructed to quarantine for 14 days, whether they get a negative test result or not, to help stem the spread of the virus.
Testing is being conducted at the Clay County Health Units, and at the Piggott Community Hospital COVID-19 testing clinic, located at the clinic in Rector. The Clay County Health Unit in Piggott may be reached by calling 870 598-3390 and the Rector Clinic may be reached by calling 870 595-3596. The two county health units have also been staying open extended hours on Tuesdays to provide testing and flu shots.
The state and county figures are updated daily, and may be found on the ADH website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov