LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- The number of Arkansas residents hospitalized due to the coronavirus has dropped to levels not seen since late November, when the omicron variant began to surge, according to the state health department.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations fell by 41 to 371, the Arkansas Department of Health reported Saturday. This was the first time hospitalizations had dropped below 400 since Nov. 29, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Mitigating the risk of the coronavirus "really did require state and national public health emergency declarations" two years ago when the pandemic began, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement CEO Joe Thompson told the newspaper. He added the responsibility now falls on communities, families and individuals.
"COVID-19 is still with us, but we have more tools now, more knowledge now, more people that are protected now, so we don't need as stringent of public health measures" such as mask mandates, Thompson told the newspaper in a Friday interview.
Friday was the first time since June 2021 that active cases were below 4,000.
Arkansas has seen 822,900 COVID-19 cases in almost two years, according to the health department. With 18 deaths recorded Saturday, the state has now seen 10,699 Arkansas residents die from the virus.