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COVID cases continue to rise as holiday weekend starts

by Caitlan Butler | July 2, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise, locally and across Arkansas, with the highest number of new cases reported in a single day recorded Thursday.

As Arkansans head into the long holiday weekend -- often marked with get-togethers like cookouts -- state health officials are recommending being aware of the spike in cases.

"We would encourage people to be aware of your surroundings and practice safety precautions as we have throughout the pandemic," said Danyelle McNeill, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Health, on Friday. "Get up to date on your vaccinations if you have not already."

In Union County, 87 new cases were reported this week from Sunday, June 26, through Friday. That's up from 49 from Sunday, June 19 through Friday, June 25, an increase of 77.5%.

Statewide, cases rose by more than 1,000 four days in a row this week, and from Sunday through Friday, 6,313 new cases were reported, up from 4,323 from June 19-25, a 46% increase.

The number of active cases in Union County rose above 100 this week for the first time since Feb. 16 and on Friday reached 149, up 37 from where they were on Sunday. Likewise, in Arkansas, there were 11,903 active cases on Friday, a peak not seen since February.

State Epidemiologist Mike Cima said hospitalizations have remained relatively low in comparison to previous case spikes, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He attributed most of the new cases to the spread of the B.A.4 and B.A.5 omicron subvariants, the B.A.5 in particular.

"We're not necessarily seeing a large increase in severe outcomes," he told the Democrat-Gazette on Thursday.

Vaccines became available for children six months and older on June 20. Those shots are available in Union County at the Local Health Unit, 301 American Rd.

Vaccines are also available locally at Walmart, the Union County Local Health Unit, Melvin's Discount Pharmacy, the Medical Center of South Arkansas, SAMA, Walgreens, the Strong Clinic and other health care providers, according to the ADH.

A full list of clinics offering vaccines is available at healthy.arkansas.gov. COVID-19 vaccines are free, and one doesn't need health insurance to get one.

Print Headline: COVID cases continue to rise as holiday weekend starts

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