Vaccine Arrival Delivers Good News, but COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Continue to Rise

Dec 16, 2020

Governor Asa Hutchinson delivered his weekly coronavirus response briefing a day after the first shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Arkansas, but cases and deaths from the virus continue to rise. According to Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero, the spread of COVID-19 is not under control. Hutchinson said distribution of the vaccine is going well and the state is prepared to handle the complicated logistics of distribution in the future. The first doses of the vaccine are going to healthcare workers, emergency responders, and workers and residents at long-term care facilities. Romero, who also works with the CDC on vaccine policy, announced a second vaccine from Moderna will likely be in the state soon, but reminded Arkansans that the virus remains a threat despite progress on the vaccine front. State statistics show average daily coronavirus deaths rising each month since the summer and indicate the youngest and oldest Arkansans are experiencing the highest growth rate in infection during December. Hutchinson also announced the state's coordinated system for sharing resources for COVID-19 patients is ready. COVID-com is modeled after the trauma-com system that directs trauma patients to the hospital best suited for their medical emergency. Secretary of Education Johnny was also present at the briefing to provide an update on the number of schools that have had to pivot to virtual learning. So far this week, 30 schools have had to make the switch, but 25 of those were related to the snowfall in Northwest Arkansas. To watch the full briefing, click here.