COVID-19 uptick surrounding Arkansas states

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At least 2 states are calling the current COVID-19 surge 'the 4th wave': LA & MS.

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas and four other states have the lowest COVID-19 fully vaccinated rates in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The other two are neighboring states — Louisiana and Mississippi — and the other two states are Alabama and Wyoming.

The five-state combined average of fully vaccinated people is 35%.

Seven other states fall short of having a full-vaccination rate of 40%

  • Idaho, 36.9%
  • Georgia, 37.5%
  • Tennessee, 38.4%
  • West Virginia, 38.8%
  • Oklahoma, 39.5%
  • North Dakota, 39.7%
  • South Carolina, 39.9%

Nationally the average number of fully vaccinated Americans is 48.6%, according to the CDC.

This weekend in Arkansas, 6,007 cumulative COVID-19-related deaths were recorded — a dozen since Sunday, July 19, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).

The ADH said the River Valley has its share of the COVID-19 Delta variant — Baxter (353), Sebastian (265), Crawford (115).

Sebastian County is the fourth-most-populated county in the state, but only a little more than 25% of its residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday, according to the CDC.

In Northwest Arkansas, there are 733 active cases in Benton County and 626 in Washington County. Overall, Pulaski County has the most active cases with 1,851. Counties near Pulaski also with high levels of active cases are White (326), Jefferson (332), and Garland (371). In the northeast Craighead has 365 active cases, according to the ADH.

SURROUNDING STATES FAST FACTS, July 5-18

(Source: aggregated data from CDC, New York Times, Johns Hopkins University)

LOUISIANA: Total cases 13,385. 71 deaths — 10,828 total deaths. 36% fully vaccinated Population: 4.649 million per 2019 census data.

MISSISSIPPI: Total cases 4,618. 45 deaths — 7,465 total deaths. 33.8% fully vaccinated Population: 2.976 million per 2019 census data.

MISSOURI: Total cases 23,430. 148 deaths — 10,111 total deaths. 40.3% fully vaccinated. Population: 6.137 million per 2019 census data.

OKLAHOMA: Total cases 6,124. 29 deaths — 8,671 total deaths (CDC-NCHS API as of 7/19). 39.5% fully vaccinated. Population: 3.957 million per 2019 census data.

TENNESSEE: Total cases 6,067. 61 deaths — 12,544 total deaths 38.5% fully vaccinated. Population: 6.829 million per 2019 census data.

TEXAS: Total cases 34,879. 322 deaths — 52,956 total deaths. 42.8% fully vaccinated. Population: 29 million per 2019 census data.

LOUISIANA

“The fourth surge,” is going on in Louisiana, according to Governor John Bel Edwards. “Over the last 2 to 3 weeks we have lost more than 4 months of progress in hospitalizations,” said Edwards on Friday, July 16. The Delta variant is impacting those who are unvaccinated and younger kids who are not vaccinated. The state has seen a consistent increase in COVID-19’s Delta variant for the last 26 days. Over the weekend, one of the state’s largest hospitals, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, opened a new floor for COVID-19 positive patients.

MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi has reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases this past weekend since January 2021, and on Monday the state reported 2,326 new cases. The Mississippi State Department of Health announced hospitals along the Gulf Coast are seeing four times the number of patients for the Delta variant of COVID-19. On Friday, July 16, the state released new guidelines for K-12 school settings: unvaccinated teachers must wear masks indoors, including staff and students ages two or older, these are the same guidelines the CDC recommended. Last Tuesday, July 13, state health officials announced seven children are hospitalized with COVID-19 and are in ICU, two on ventilators. In a July 14 tweet, Mississippi’s State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said almost all current COVID-19 cases in the state are the Delta variant.

Dr. Dobbs, on Monday, said the state’s “4th wave is here” on Twitter, calling it “very sad indeed.”

MISSOURI

State-wide, Missouri has administered an average of 9,264 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the past week. There have been 18 deaths, and some are a delayed reporting death. At area hospitals, there are 1,259 COVID-19 patients, 401 are in ICU, and 196 are on ventilators, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (MDHSS). Southwest Missouri has more COVID-19 hospitalization than it did this past winter. As of Sunday, July 18, 103 COVID-19 patients are in critical care in Greene County alone, population 293,086 and home to 1,036 COVID-19 cases, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s recovery dashboard.

The state has more than 22,000 hospital beds including 2,700 ICU beds and 2,300 ventilators and an additional 240 ventilators that are stockpiled, according to the MDHSS website.

OKLAHOMA

Region 7, Tulsa, the most highly populated of all cities, has 163 hospitalizations within the last three days, 57 are in ICU, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). In the remainder of the state, there are 198 hospitalizations and 54 patients are in ICU. The state has 29 pediatric hospitalizations.

The state is averaging 691 COVID-19 cases per week and has 5,617 active cases, according to OSDH.

TENNESSEE

Last Friday, July 16, the state’s largest COVID-19 testing center, located at Nissan Stadium, because of a drop in people going there to get COVID-19 vaccinated. Chair of the Metro Nashville COVID-19 Taskforce Dr. Alex Jahangir said in January thousands would come there in a day, and now about 100 go to the site for testing. So far, of the 2.6 million or so Tennesseans who are fully vaccinated, the Tennessee Department of Health is reporting nearly 1,000 ‘breakthrough’ infections – with 24 deaths. In the 12-15 age group, 2.2% are vaccinated — 64,870 (the report did not specify if that was both doses).

TEXAS

Located in the South Central region, it is the second-largest U.S. state by both area and population. There are 254 counties in the state and the top counties for a 7-day average of COVID-19 are Tarrant (335), Harris and Bexar (each with 284), and Dallas (221). The Lone Star state is dealing with a 10.2% positivity rate, for the first time since February, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Texas faces challenges with getting people vaccinated because many people live in rural areas and a high number of people who are too young to get vaccinated, according to state officials. Currently, there are five fully vaccinated members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, who are in D.C., who have tested positive for COVID-19, the White House confirmed in its daily press briefing on Monday.

On a side note, on Friday, Texas announced it was working with the Dallas County Health and Human Services and the CDC to investigate a case of monkeypox. The person recently returned from Nigeria. It’s believed to be the first case of the rare disease, according to officials.

COVID-19 SIDE EFFECTS

Some people develop side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the CDC, common side effects include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection location, which is usually the arm. Other symptoms include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. If you have a severe or immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine the second dose is not recommended. Currently, Pfizer-BioNTech is the only vaccine that may be given to people ages 12 and up.

Last week, the CDC released a report about adverse events following any vaccination. “Serious adverse events after a COVID-19 vaccination is rare but may occur,” the CDC stated. The data was gathered from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

  • Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination is rare and has occurred in approximately 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated in the United StatesSevere allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, can occur after any vaccination. If this occurs, vaccination providers can effectively and immediately treat the reaction. 
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccination is rare. As of July 12, 2021, more than 12.8 million doses of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine have been given in the United States. CDC and FDA identified 38 confirmed reports of people who got the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and later developed TTS. Women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen. 
  • CDC and FDA are monitoring reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in people who have received the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. GBS is a rare disorder where the body’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent nerve damage. After 12.8 million J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine doses administered, there have been around 100 preliminary reports of GBS identified in VAERS. These cases have largely been reported about 2 weeks after vaccination and mostly in men, many 50 years and older. 
  • Myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. As of July 12, 2021, VAERS has received 1,047 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis among people ages 30 and younger who received a COVID-19 vaccine. Most cases have been reported after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), particularly in male adolescents and young adults. Through follow-up, including medical record reviews, CDC and FDA have confirmed 633 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis. CDC and its partners are investigating these reports to assess whether there is a relationship to COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 334 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 12, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,079 reports of death (0.0018%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths.

On Sunday, July 18, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that everyone over the age of two years should wear a face mask inside of schools (unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit use). The AAP cited the concern of the more contagious Delta variant as its reason for “masking” in schools. The K-12 CDC guidance recommended wearing a mask for those who are not fully vaccinated and keeping unvaccinated students at a 3-foot distance.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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