Arkansas on Wednesday reported 1,703 new coronavirus cases as the number of people in the state hospitalized because of the virus continued to climb.
The Department of Health reported that the state’s cases since the pandemic began now totals 379,726. The state said 15,801 of those are active cases, meaning ones that don’t include people who have died or recovered.
The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations rose by 39 to 1,064 and deaths increased by 12 to 6,099. There are 386 COVID-19 patients in intensive care in the state, and 209 on ventilators.
Arkansas’ cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks due to the delta variant and the state’s low vaccination rate. The state ranks second in the country for new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.
Only 36% of the state’s population has been fully immunized against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Facing growing calls to lift the state’s ban on mask mandates in public schools, Gov. Asa Hutchinson planned a news conference Thursday about the virus. His office would say whether it’s related to mask mandate ban. Hutchinson, a Republican, has said a special session to address the issue is an option.
The GOP leaders of the House and Senate said Wednesday they’re still talking with members to see what action, if any, they’d support.