By Rebekah Riess | CNN
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday announced “very startling numbers,” including the state’s largest single-day increase in hospitalizations, eclipsing its previous high of Covid-19 admissions.
In a tweet, Hutchinson said there were only eight available intensive care unit beds in the state.
The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting 995 new Covid-19 cases Monday, and 21 new Covid-19 related deaths.
There are 1,376 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in Arkansas, up by 103 from Sunday, according to the department. Of those, 286 cases are currently on ventilators, 25 more than the previous day, the department said.
Almost 43% of Arkansas residents 12 years and older have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the state health department. Nationwide, 58.7% of residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Vaccinations reduce hospitalizations,” Hutchinson said in his tweet.
Arkansas is one of a growing number of states, including Missouri, Texas and Florida, that are seeing Covid-19 cases explode, driven by the easily transmissible Delta virus variant and low vaccination rates, and hospitalization rates higher than anytime during the pandemic.
In Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, current hospitalization rates are more than double the national rate, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
In Florida, the hospitalization rate is more than triple the national rate. There are more than 65 people hospitalized with Covid-19 for every 100,000 people in Florida, about one out of every 1,500 state residents.
Louisiana set a record for Covid-19 hospitalizations last week.
Overall, about 1 in 5 ICU beds in the US are occupied by Covid-19 patients. But in these five states with the highest hospitalization rates, the share of ICU beds occupied by Covid-19 patients is even higher, ranging from 25% in Alabama to more than a third in Florida.
Also, each of these five states — Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas — have fully vaccinated less than half of their residents, lagging behind the US overall, according to CDC data.