COVID-19 in Arkansas

COVID-19 continues to affect people in our state. ACHI will provide updates and insights on emerging and related issues.

Last Updated: June 04, 2023

Combating COVID-19 Misinformation

In November 2022, Twitter ended its enforcement and monitoring policies against COVID-19 misinformation. In light of this decision — amid evolving COVID-19 variants and the unknown impact of long COVID on millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Arkansans — ACHI is redoubling its commitment to combating misinformation regarding COVID-19 treatment and prevention.

For Trustworthy COVID-19 Treatment Information:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory COVID-19 Treatment Panel
    • The panel of health experts and physicians publishes updates on treatment of COVID-19.
    • Currently, the panel recommends the following two therapies as preferred treatments for COVID-19:
    • The panel also continues to recommend the use of tixagevimab plus cilgavimab (Evusheld) as pre-exposure prevention for eligible individuals, such as people with immune system problems, to prevent COVID-19 infection. 

How to Identify Misinformation:

To combat misinformation, one must first learn how to spot it. Here are a few recommendations that may help you recognize COVID-19 treatment misinformation online:

  • Determine the source of the information.
  • Don’t equate likes and shares on social media posts with credibility.
  • Ask yourself: What’s behind this information? What’s the evidence? What are other sources saying?
  • Use authoritative sources.

Helpful Links and Additional Sources:

Current Status

With the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency in the U.S., the CDC is modifying what data it releases and ending some datasets. The New York Times has paused their data updates as they assess the impact of these changes. The following are the latest updates.

As the availability of COVID-19 case reporting has decreased, many public health experts have pointed to hospitalizations as a more reliable COVID-19 indicator at this stage in the pandemic. Another important, although lagging, measurement is the number of deaths related to COVID-19. To help you stay on top of the latest COVID-19 trends, The New York Times publishes an interactive dashboard tracking national and local indicators.

As of May 14, the seven-day average of current hospitalizations in Arkansas was 144, which is down from this year’s high of 464 in early January. Average daily hospital admissions, which is a 14-day average of people newly admitted to the hospital each day, was 71 as of May 15 (a 14-day change of +5%). For the week of May 4-10, no new deaths have been reported.

Data are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as reported by The New York Times, and are current as of May 15, 2023.

For additional data on COVID-19 testing rates, cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccinations in Arkansas (including by county), visit the interactive COVID-19 tracking dashboard from The New York Times.

The CDC also tracks variants and sub-variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 and provides estimates of variant proportions, regionally and nationally. For the latest results of the CDC’s variant surveillance, see the data below or visit its COVID Data Tracker page.

CDC Variant Tracker

What to know about the current vaccine schedule recommended by the CDC

On April 19, 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced updates to its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, simplifying the vaccine schedules for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and allowing for an extra booster dose for those at highest risk from infection. Updates include:

  • CDC’s new recommendations allow an additional updated (bivalent) vaccine dose for adults age 65 and older and for people who are immunocompromised.
  • The original monovalent COVID-19 vaccines are no longer recommended for use in the U.S.
  • CDC recommends that everyone age 6 and older receive the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they previously completed the original primary series.
  • Individuals who have already received an updated vaccine do not need to take any action unless they are 65 or older or immunocompromised.
  • For young children, multiple doses continue to be recommended and will vary by age, vaccine, and which vaccines were previously received.

Bivalent vs. Monovalent

  • Bivalent: These updated doses are the most current version of the COVID-19 vaccine. They are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the omicron subvariants.
  • Monovalent: The previous doses are called “monovalent” because they were designed to protect against the original virus that caused COVID-19. As of April 19, they are no longer recommended in the U.S.

Consult your primary care provider or pharmacist for questions about the timing of vaccine doses to protect you and your family against COVID-19.

Source:Long COVID: What We Know” – The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. February 2, 2023.

Some individuals who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience a wide range of ongoing health problems or long-term effects, commonly called long COVID. Anyone who has been infected with the virus can experience long COVID, including some people who never tested positive or knew they were infected. For more information about long COVID, a list of possible symptoms, and guidance for people dealing with long COVID, visit the CDC’s website.

Testing Information

When to test:

  • COVID-19 and the flu have some symptoms in common. The FDA has authorized an over-the-counter, at-home test that can differentiate between the two illnesses.
  • If you have symptoms or have been exposed (or potentially exposed) to an individual with COVID-19 you should self-test or get tested at a healthcare facility.
  • Because you can be infected without symptoms or a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, using a self-test before gathering with others, either within your household or outside of your household, can inform you about your risk of spreading COVID-19 to others.
  • A negative result means that the test did not detect the virus and that you may not have an infection, but it does not rule out infection, especially when self-testing. Repeating an at-home test within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, will increase the confidence that you are not infected.

Where to get tested or obtain at-home tests:

  • Use the CDC’s COVID-19 Testing Locator to search for free COVID-19 testing sites near you. Testing sites could include local pharmacies, commercial laboratories, community sites, or retail locations.
  • Free or low-cost at-home tests may be available at Local Health Units or local pharmacies.
  • Commercial insurance carriers are required to pay or reimburse for individually purchased self-tests (check with your insurance provider for conditions).
  • All U.S. households are eligible to order four free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests from

How to perform a COVID-19 self-test:

  • Always carefully review the instructions that come with your home test before getting started. There are many different manufacturers of home tests and the instructions may vary.
  • Watch a demonstration on how to use one common at-home test.
  • The CDC has put together a detailed page about at-home COVID-19 self-tests on their website.

What to do if your test result is positive:

  • You should stay home or isolate for 5 days, if possible. If you are asymptomatic after five days with a negative test, you may return to work, but you must continue to wear high quality masks through day 10 (N95s and KN95s offer better protection than cloth masks).
  • Tell a healthcare provider about your positive test result and stay in contact with them.
  • If your illness becomes severe, seek medical attention.
  • If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. A person with COVID-19 can begin spreading it two days before they have any symptoms or test positive. By informing your close contacts that they may have been exposed, they can test at home and help protect their family and others.
  • If you think your positive test result may be incorrect, contact a healthcare provider to determine whether or not additional testing is necessary.
  • For more information about what to do if you test positive, refer to the CDC’s detailed guidance.

Defining COVID-19 Terms

As the pandemic continues to unfold, it can be difficult to keep up with emerging information about COVID-19, especially if you are unfamiliar with some of the terminology. In the early stages of this evolving health crisis, we launched a series of blog posts explaining key terms and phrases used by public health officials in discussions about this new disease. Check out some recent posts below, and see 30 Terms and Phrases Used by Public Health Officials When Talking About COVID-19 for a roundup of terms we’ve defined.

Excess Deaths

Excess deaths are defined as the difference between the observed number of deaths during a specific time frame and the expected number of deaths during the same period. ACHI has included excess death data resources on our website, including an interactive dashboard of excess deaths associated with COVID-19 developed by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read More

Clinical Trial

Clinical trials are a vital component of the development process for medications, vaccines, and other medical treatments and preventatives, including those for COVID-19. Medication combinations and new uses for current medications may also be evaluated in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a type of study in which researchers test novel approaches to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Read More


An endemic disease is one that is commonly found in a specific population or region. Endemic diseases are different from epidemics and pandemics, which are outbreaks of a disease that continue to spread to other regions (or globally in the case of a pandemic). An example of an endemic virus is influenza, better known as the flu. Read More


Helpful Links and Numbers

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is tracking statewide cases, and more information can be found here, and en espanol.

Arkansas hotline for information about COVID-19 vaccination, including help scheduling appointments: 1-800-985-6030. The hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The CDC posts regular online updates with latest guidelines and information on COVID-19.

ADH: During normal business hours (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.), urgent and non-urgent calls, please dial 1-800-803-7847 or email After normal business hours and weekend calls, needing immediate response, please call 1-800-554-5738.

UAMS: Click here for screening information, including online, phone, and in-person screenings. Their COVID-19 Hotline is 1-800-632-4502.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH): For children younger than 18 years old, call 1-800-743-3616. Nursing staff will be available for questions and phone screenings 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click here for more information from ACH.

CDC Mask Guidelines: Click here to view the mask guidelines from the CDC

COVID-19 Testing in Arkansas: Use the CDC’s testing locator to search for the nearest no-cost testing location. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also provides information on how and where to get tested.

Order free at-home tests: