The infection curve rose for the 20th straight day Tuesday and peaked for the 10th straight day. Active cases rose for the 16th straight day and peaked for the eighth straight day.
"Omicron is here," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday at his weekly press update. "It is here. It is raging across Arkansas, but we see from the data internationally and nationally is this will pass through. We're anxious for that to happen, but we've got to hold the line. We've got to make sure we take action, so we can get through January into February, where we expect to see this variant diminish significantly. Just like it has in other countries."
Hospitalizations rose for the 12th straight day, moving closer to the peak reached during the summer's delta variant-fueled surge. Hutchinson said a survey the Arkansas Department of Health conducted Jan. 4 showed 30% of COVID-19 hospitalizations reported that day were secondary admissions.
"In other words, they went to the hospital for another reason and they were tested for COVID and they were positive, even though they might not have been symptomatic at that point," he said. "This is information I think is important and puts things in perspective."
Hutchinson said vaccination continues to be the path out of the pandemic, one not enough people are following.
"With this level of increase, with this level of spread of omicron, that number needs to be higher," he said of the 7,800 vaccine doses taken in the previous 24 hours. "I can only think the public sees this as not as worrisome as delta. There is some truth to that, but if you want your schools to operate, if you want people to be able to work, it helps us to increase the vaccination rate in Arkansas."
As a service to our readers, The Sentinel-Record publishes updates released by the city of Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas.
The Arkansas Department of Health is no longer reporting confirmed and probable cases separately. The following stats were posted Tuesday on the Health Department's website:
• 629,825 cumulative cases, up 7,756 from Monday.
• 6,955.86 rolling seven-day average of new cases, up 170.57 from Monday.
• 4,565,273 PCR test reports, up 11,764 from Monday.
• 10% cumulative PCR infection rate, up from 9.9% Monday.
• 64,735 active cases, up 3,613 from Monday.
• 14,252 active juvenile cases, up 1,516 from Monday.
• 555,528 recoveries, up 4,117 from Monday.
• 4,725,470 vaccine doses received, up 34,900 from Monday.
• 3,778,781 doses given, up 7,815 from Monday.
• 1,148 hospitalizations, up 80 from Monday.
• 163 cases on ventilators, up 15 from Monday.
• 339 ICU patients, up 35 from Monday.
• 9,358 deaths, up 25 from Monday.
• 2,308 nursing home deaths, no change from Monday.
• 17,904 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 79 from Monday.
• 116.43 rolling seven-day average of new cases, down three from Monday.
• 176,096 PCR and antigen test reports, up 396 from Monday.
• 10.5% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Monday.
• 1,101 active cases in Garland County, up 42 from Monday.
• 16,370 recoveries in Garland County, up 37 from Monday.
• 433 deaths, no change from Monday.