LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Arkansas on Thursday reported a record increase in coronavirus vaccinations administered, two days after the state expanded eligibility for the shots.
The Department of Health reported 32,705 additional vaccine doses were administered. Nearly 1.2 million of the 1.7 million vaccine doses the state has received so far have been given so far.
Thursday’s increase was the biggest one-day jump since the state reported 28,958 additional vaccinations administered on March 25.
The increase follow Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s announcement on Tuesday that the state was opening up vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older. Hutchinson also lifted the state’s mask mandate that day.
Local governments, school districts and private businesses, however, are still allowed to impose their own mask requirements. The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement called on community leaders to adopt mask mandates to prevent the virus’s resurgence in the state.
“The lifting of the mask mandate is not an all-clear signal to abandon safeguards in our communities,” the nonprofit’s health policy board said in a statement.
Overall, Arkansas’ virus cases on Thursday increased by 211 to 330,609 total since the pandemic began. Active cases, meaning those that don’t include people who have died or recovered, increased by 29 to 1,724.
The state’s COVID-19 deaths increased by 10 to 5,636, and hospitalizations increased by two to 168.
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