The pace of vaccinations in Arkansas is accelerating, with thousands of shots given every day at pharmacies, hospitals and mass clinics across the state. But white people seem to be getting shots faster than people of color.
Meanwhile, a breakdown of total adult vaccination rates by county showed stark disparities across the state. Franklin County and Cleveland County have provided at least one dose to almost 19.8% of people ages 16 and up. The lowest rates were in Miller County, at 3.8%, and Hempstead County, at 6.6%.
Though dozens of the plant’s roughly 200 employees have fallen ill with COVID-19 in recent months, workers say plant management is committed to maintaining business as usual. The production of dog food never stops, even in a pandemic.
As thousands more Arkansans test positive for COVID-19 each day and the number of available intensive care unit beds in the state’s hospitals dwindles, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is beginning the next phase of its surge plan.…
“There was a couple of weeks when I was at work where the only time we had an ICU bed open up was when a patient would pass,” Dr. Teresa Bau said. “And then, it was instantly snatched up. That was a really grim week for me.”
Given the economic pain, Governor Hutchinson argued, tougher restrictions do not make sense because restaurants, bars, gyms and other types of businesses are not a significant source of spread. But the Arkansas Department of Health data that the governor is relying on appears to be too limited and incomplete to reach that conclusion.
The George's Inc. workers told Facing South that the walkout was prompted by management's recent decision to end staggered shifts, which forces workers entering the plant into narrow hallways with workers who are leaving.
The request — for five intensive care unit (ICU) beds and five general medical-surgical beds — was made Wednesday to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and announced Thursday by the governor at a press conference.
“We cannot possibly continue at the current rates of exponential growth in the community,” the doctor said. “It’s not sustainable. I believe we’re looking at 10 days of wiggle room before there is nowhere to go and we’re looking at those sorts of crazy scenarios where there’s patients lined up in the hallway.”
Since Aug. 24, over 2,060 Arkansas public school teachers and staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. At least 60 have been hospitalized, 14 have landed in an intensive care unit and seven have been placed on ventilators. Six have died.
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