The number of active COVID-19 cases in Ashley County fell slightly over the week, but the viral illness also claimed more local lives.

As of Monday afternoon, Ashley County had 122 active cases of the virus reported. A total of 21 county residents had died of the disease that follows the coronavirus infection.

“We continue to see high numbers of new cases and capacity pressures on our hospitals,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last week. “I urge everyone to be careful … to reduce the virus spread, and we need to support each other as Arkansans while we work to distribute the vaccine.”

Throughout the week, Hutchinson urged residents to look to the future as vaccine distribution continued across the state.

“I spent the last day of 2020 working with our health department team on vaccine distribution,” Hutchinson said Thursday. “And while the new cases are way too high, the 2,708 new cases (Dec. 31 were) more than 400 fewer than the same day (the previous) week. We are also working with our incredible hospitals on the best way to cover the increase in hospitalizations.”

While detected cases of COVID have captured much of the public’s attention, the Arkansas Department of Health has continued monitoring the cases of influenza as the state enters the flu season.

For the last week of the year, the health department reported that flu activity in the state is still minimal for flu-like illnesses.

The report notes that since the end of September, ADH databases have recorded 842 confirmed cases of influenza, and that “among flu antigen tests this season that can distinguish between influenza A and B virus types, 37 percent were influenza A, and 63 percent were influenza B.” Seven deaths have been attributed to flu so far this flu season.

While the flu numbers appear low compared to COVID-19, peak flu season on a 15-year average is in February.

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