The number of active Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations is decreasing but the number of deaths is increasing, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Arkansas Department of Health.

The Arkansas Department of Health on Tuesday reported 16,331 confirmed and probable active cases, a decrease of 334 since Monday’s report which also showed a decrease from the previous day when the number of active cases fell by 489 to 16,665.

Hospitalizations fell by 20 to 869. The previous day, there was a decrease of 24.

Though the state is seeing a decrease in the number of active cases and hospitalizations, the number of deaths is increasing. Deaths rose by 44 to 4,939. The previous day, the number of deaths increased 27 to 4,895.

Arkansas Health Secretary Jose Romero, at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s weekly Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday encouraged Arkansans to take the coronavirus vaccine when offered. “We are only going to be able to get past this pandemic if we have enough immunity,” he said.

Romero said the vaccine is safe and effective. It prevents death and decreases hospitalizations significantly.

To date, the state has received 535,900 doses of the coronavirus vaccine and given out 318,408 doses.

The state is still in phase 1-B of the vaccine distribution plan focusing on Arkansans 70 and older as well as those working in the education field. Vaccination of those in long-term care facilities is pretty much completed though there will be second rounds and follow-ups, according to Hutchinson.

“We are doing well but we have to do better because lives are at stake,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson said he learned in a conference call with Jeff Zients, director of Coronavirus Task Force for President Biden, that Arkansas will receive a five percent increase in its supply of vaccines, beginning this week. That is on top of the 16 percent increase last week.

In addition to the state’s allocation, Walmart, as a preferred federal supplier, will receive approximately 10,000 doses beginning February 11 to be distributed at more than 60 stores across Arkansas, Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson has attributed the declining number of active cases to vaccine distribution, mask wearing, and social distancing.

“Some positive trends have started to emerge, but we cannot use this as a reason to relax in following the guidelines,” Hutchinson said in a news release Monday.

Romero in his report issued a foreboding warning. He said Dr. Anthony Fauci and others have warned that new variants of the Covid-19 virus have been detected.

“We don’t know that we have them yet here in Arkansas, I suspect they are, we just need to find them but once they take hold they will become the dominant virus in our community,” Romero said. “They spread easier and some of these from different parts of the world have some changes that allow them to not respond appropriately to therapy.”

Covid-19 Cases in Southeast Arkansas

Ashley County

Total Cumulative Cases: 1,654
Confirmed Cases: 1,352
Probable Cases: 302

Total Active Cases: 90
Active Confirmed Cases: 62
Active Probable Cases: 28

Total Recovered Cases: 1,537
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 1,268
Recovered Probable Cases: 269

Total Deaths: 27
Confirmed Deaths: 22
Probable Deaths: 5

Bradley County

Total Cumulative Cases: 1,254
Confirmed Cases: 945
Probable Cases: 309

Total Active Cases: 49
Active Confirmed Cases: 33
Active Probable Cases: 16

Total Recovered Cases: 1,176
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 896
Recovered Probable Cases: 280

Total Deaths: 29
Confirmed Deaths: 16
Probable Deaths: 13

Chicot County

Total Cumulative Cases: 1,563
Confirmed Cases: 1,426
Probable Cases: 137

Total Active Cases: 38
Active Confirmed Cases: 32
Active Probable Cases: 6

Total Recovered Cases: 1,487
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 1,359
Recovered Probable Cases: 128

Total Deaths: 38
Confirmed Deaths: 35
Probable Deaths: 3

Cleveland County

Total Cumulative Cases: 814
Confirmed Cases: 520
Probable Cases: 294

Total Active Cases: 88
Active Confirmed Cases: 41
Active Probable Cases: 47

Total Recovered Cases: 703
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 461
Recovered Probable Cases: 242

Total Deaths: 23
Confirmed Deaths: 18
Probable Deaths: 5

Desha County

Total Cumulative Cases: 1,223
Confirmed Cases: 999
Probable Cases: 224

Total Active Cases: 105
Active Confirmed Cases: 79
Active Probable Cases: 26

Total Recovered Cases: 1,101
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 906
Recovered Probable Cases: 195

Total Deaths: 17
Confirmed Deaths: 14
Probable Deaths: 3

Drew County

Total Cumulative Cases: 1,874
Confirmed Cases: 1,480
Probable Cases: 394

Total Active Cases: 118
Active Confirmed Cases: 91
Active Probable Cases: 27

Total Recovered Cases: 1,723
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 1,363
Recovered Probable Cases: 360

Total Deaths: 32
Confirmed Deaths: 26
Probable Deaths: 6

Lincoln County

Total Cumulative Cases: 3,057
Confirmed Cases: 2,742
Probable Cases: 315

Total Active Cases: 67
Active Confirmed Cases: 36
Active Probable Cases: 31

Total Recovered Cases: 2,950
Recovered Confirmed Cases: 2,676
Recovered Probable Cases: 274

Total Deaths: 39
Confirmed Deaths: 29
Probable Deaths: 10

— Arkansas Department of Health