There were 17 patients in COVID-19 wards across Washington and Benton Counties on Tuesday, which is a significant drop from the early January average of 128 COVID-19 patients per days. Hospitalizations have also fallen across the state, but at his weekly coronavirus response briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson urged Arkansans not to become complacent about taking precautions against the virus. The governor said he's most concerned about the increase numbers of COVID-19 variants that are being detected in more than a dozen states and several countries in Europe. Dr. Michelle Smith, the director of the Office of Health Equity at the Arkansas Department of Health, also spoke at yesterday's briefing. She said the state wants to make sure the COVID-19 vaccine is available to minority and underserved populations, as well as people living in the most rural parts of Arkansas. Statistics show 15 percent of the state's population is Black, but only about 10 percent of all vaccines have been administered to Black residents. The entire briefing, including an update on how schools are handling testing week, can be found here.