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Arkansas sets new record for COVID hospitalizations

January 23, 2022 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas reported on Saturday its biggest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the pandemic began in 2020.

The increase in hospitalizations comes as the state continues to feel the surge of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The state Department of Health said COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by one to 1,659. It’s the fifth day in a row the state has set a new record for hospitalizations.

“This is the lowest increase in hospitalizations since Christmas,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a tweet on Saturday. “This upcoming week will tell us what February will look like. Listen to your trusted medical professional and get the vaccine and booster.”

According to health department data, 54% of Arkansas residents age 5 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 504,538 have received a booster dose, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

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Turnout at a vaccination clinic on Saturday at a Little Rock church was “tremendous” Saturday, Clifford Allen, with the health department, told the newspaper.

The state reported 8,118 new virus cases on Saturday. However, the actual number of cases is likely higher because of people testing at home or who are infected and haven’t been tested.

The state reported 14 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 9,498.