CABOT, Arkansas — COVID-19 cases have began to surge in Arkansas.
"June 7th, Arkansas had 1,094 active cases. Yesterday, only one month later, we had over 5,000," Governor Asa Hutchinson said.
He said the Delta variant's spread isn't the only reason we are seeing high numbers. It's also due to the low vaccination rate in the state.
Only 39% of Arkansans that are 12 and older have received the vaccine. The national average rate is more than 50%.
On Thursday night, Governor Hutchinson spoke in Cabot where 68% of people there have gotten at least one dose, but the county as a whole is only 36% fully vaccinated.
The governor and Dr. Jose Romero answered questions about COVID vaccines and the new variant.
"This is now a mutated change to now have better transmissibility to cause more disease," Romero said.
"Whenever you get the vaccine, even though you might have the virus, your chances of going to the hospital are significantly reduced and your chance of dying is almost nil," Hutchinson said.
The governor also made it clear that Arkansas will not enforce any more mandates for COVID and that it's up to the communities to decide what's best for them.
However, he said the state will accept federal aid.
"We will ask for any help that's available," Hutchinson said. "We've had a conversation with the CDC and the White House and they've offered surge teams and different ways to help us. We've agreed on some different areas where they can help us."