Feb 2, 2022 - COVID

Arkansas' COVID situation improves as Omicron loosens its grip

Illustration of a pattern of covid cells.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are starting to trend down after record-breaking numbers during the Omicron surge.

By the numbers: The state had 57,392 active cases Tuesday compared to 89,572 a week ago and 1,711 COVID-19 hospitalizations compared to 1,785 a week ago, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Health.

On schools: The state will stop requiring schools to keep track of close contacts or perform contact tracing. Close contacts to those who test positive for the virus no longer have to quarantine, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.

  • The contact tracing is too burdensome on schools and too many kids are not in school, he said.

Yes, and: The Arkansas Department of Education will put $300,000 toward background checks for substitute teachers to help relieve schools in need of subs, Johnny Key, education commissioner, said. The department is also looking into how to speed up the background check process.

Zoom out: More free tests from the federal government should be arriving soon. The government began allowing Americans to order four tests per household on Jan. 19 with shipping expected seven to 12 days after, Kierra Frazier writes in Axios.

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