MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Wednesday, Arkansas’ governor and secretary said the natural state is improving when it comes to COVID-19 cases, but they also said there’s still improvements to be made.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said active cases and hospitalizations are down, but more people need to get vaccinated.

“Vaccination is the best opportunity to not get infected, to stay out of the hospital and reduce the chance of death,” Hutchinson said.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s statement is backed up by stats he shared this afternoon:

“When we see deaths in our Arkansas hospitals and we report them daily on the right side we will see that only 11% of the deaths are those who have been vaccinated. 89.9% or 90% of the deaths that we see are from those that are not vaccinated and the same thing is true for hospitalizations and our cases.”

Arkansas’ Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero also talked about pediatric COVID-19 cases and the effect of the virus on children. 

“From the peak that we are seeing in the winter months to the peak that recently finished we saw an 84.4% rise in hospitalizations,” Romero said.  

They’re encouraging vaccination for children 12 and up who are eligible as well as masking in schools, saying this will cut down on the number of students needing to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19.

“We set a goal if a school is 70% vaccinated in the community then with reaching that goal if the students are vaccinated you can avoid quarantine.”

The governor says so far there has only been one private/charter school that has reached that 70% vaccination rate.