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Increased Volume of New COVID-19 Cases Poses Contact Tracing Challenges

Yesterday, Governor Asa Hutchinson held his weekly coronavirus response briefing ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The briefing follows more high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, deaths and record hospitalizations. Hutchinson said the increased volume of cases has been challenging for contact tracers and the average timeframe from collection of the specimen until it reaches the Arkansas Department of Health system is about 37 hours. Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero made a familiar plea urging Arkansans to shift away from many holiday norms for the sake of their communities. He also discussed this week's news regarding a third vaccine that's exhibiting a high efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infection. Romero said there's reason to be optimistic, but he stressed the first shipment of vaccines will not cover everybody and the state will prioritize certain groups of people over others. To watch the full briefing, click here.

Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
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