ARKANSAS COVID RISES- Arkansas’ Covid-19 cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks due to the delta variant and the state’s low vaccination rate. The state ranks second in the country for new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. When the pandemic began last year, younger people were considered to be lower risk and the emphasis has been to protect the most vulnerable, elderly population. But during a Community Covid Conversation at Heber Springs, Arkansas yesterday Governor Asa Hutchinson offered this update on new covid patients in Arkansas.
"During the original virus timeframe where we were all concerned last year, they did not have patients, adolescents, teenagers, young people in the Arkansas Childrens Hospital because of Covid," Hutchinson said. "But today they have 25 adolescents in the Arkansas Childrens Hospital, with I think it's four on ventilator. And that is the Delta variant."
As more younger people become infected and hospitalized – Hutchinson is facing growing calls to lift the state’s ban on mask mandates in public schools, but during its last session – the Republican dominated Arkansas General Assembly passed legislation preventing any government entity from forcing a mask mandate. Hutchinson, also a Republican, has said a special session to address the issue is an option. His office has announced a press conference to be held later today.