Gov. Asa Hutchinson voiced his concern over the possible rise in COVID-19 cases over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday during his weekly briefing Tuesday.

Arkansas has already seen a rise in cases within the state over the past week with more than 900 more active cases and 69 more hospitalizations compared to the previous week, the governor said.

““We have got to be very cautious and wise in order not to have a surge like we did last winter, and I think that we can avoid that with our increased vaccination rate,” Hutchinson said.

Since the CDC approved vaccines for children ages 5-11 a few weeks ago, 7.2 percent of Arkansans in that age group have been vaccinated bringing the total number of Arkansans ages 5 and up to more than 60 percent with 50.4 percent of those being fully vaccinated.

Hutchinson gave out his recommendations for how people can remain precautious about the virus during Thanksgiving. Hutchinson said that Arkansans should remain mindful of those around them, get vaccinated and get their booster shot if they haven’t already.

Hutchinson also gave his thoughts on “natural immunity” saying that it is not as effective as the immunity from the vaccine. Natural immunity loses its effectiveness much quicker than the vaccine, only lasting about 90 days.

“A study of hospitalized patients with symptoms similar to COVID-19 found [that] unvaccinated people with a previous infection were five times more likely to have a positive COVID-19 test compared to vaccinated people,” he said, showing a graphic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Jordan Wooodson can be reached at

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