State sees record, nearly 5,000 COVID cases

Gov. Asa Hutchinson/Arkansas
Gov. Asa Hutchinson/Arkansas(KY3)
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 11:31 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2021 at 5:33 PM CST
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - The state of Arkansas reported nearly 5,000 new COVID cases Thursday, a new one-day record for the state, Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Arkansans.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state officials updated the public Thursday on the state’s response to the coronavirus, including the latest cases of COVID-19, vaccinations, and deaths.

The state reported 4,978 new cases Thursday.

The previous one-day was on New Year’s Day 2021 when 4,304 cases were reported.

According to Arkansas Department of Health numbers released later on Thursday, Craighead County reported 439 new cases.

ADH also reported numbers for other counties in Region 8.

Crittenden County had 189 new active cases and now has 514, while Greene County had 120 new active cases and has 373 as of Thursday. Mississippi County had 143 new cases Thursday, with 391 cases now and Poinsett County had 107 new cases, with 287 cases Thursday.

The governor also said the rate of tests that came back positive also set a record Thursday at one out of every five tests.

ADH also said 585 people were in the hospital as of Thursday due to COVID, with 104 people on ventilators.

Both Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said the state has seen an increase due to the omicron variant.

The governor said the state will be purchasing 1.5 million rapid tests to help test people for COVID. The tests will be available in libraries and local health units around the state and Gov. Hutchinson said at least 10 National Guard troops will be working to assist on the issue.

The tests will cost $10 million and will be funded through existing COVID funding.

The governor was asked a question about school starting on Monday. He said he was committed to school starting on time and having students in class. However, he said districts should use their own discretion on the issue of masks.

Gov. Hutchinson also said he was against the idea of a statewide mask mandate.

Secretary Romero also discussed treatment options for COVID, while Gov. Hutchinson said people should get a shot and a booster to help fight COVID. The governor cited numbers showing 87% of hospitalizations and 85% of deaths involved people who were not vaccinated.

Watch the media briefing at 1:30 p.m. on KAIT-ABC, Region 8 News app and Facebook and here on kait8.com >>

Copyright 2021 KAIT. All rights reserved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.