By Ray King

New cases of COVID-19 dropped in the past 24 hours compared to the day before, Governor Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday during a COVID-19 update.

In his weekly update, the Governor said 486 new cases were reported, 22 In correctional facilities and 46 5 in community settings. That brings the cumulative total during the pandemic to 74,772. The total for Tuesday was 110 less than the number reported on Monday.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha of the State Health Department said Pulaski County had the highest number of cases for any county in the state with 80, followed by Benton County with 55, Craighead County with 50, Sebastian County with 28 and Washington County with 26.

Twelve additional hospitalizations were reported bringing the state total to 459 and there were 12 more deaths, one of them in a nursing home, raising the state total to 1,060.

A total of 67,519 people were listed as having recovered from COVID-19.

The Governor said 6,810 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours with a positivity rate of 8.3 percent.

With Tuesday being the first day of Fall, Hutchinson outlined what he called the state’s winter strategy, which included increasing the number of people who receive flu shots, increasing the consistency of contact tracing and continued emphasis on wearing masks and social distancing.

Dillaha said the flu vaccine is “effective and safe” and said 50 percent of those receiving flu shots will not get the flu at all. For the remaining 50 percent, their cases will commonly be minor compared to people who do not receive the vaccine.

She said flu shots are available at any state health department office and while people who have insurance will be asked for it, a lack of insurance will not prevent a person from receiving a shot.