By Ray King

Arkansas Health Department Officer Dr. Jose Romero said Tuesday that the state should receive between 45,000 and 90,000 doses of vaccine for COVID-19 when it is approved for use and said that shipment will not be enough to vaccinate the entire state.

Speaking at the Governor’s weekly COVID-19 update, Romero said the first priority for receiving  the vaccine will be healthcare workers, followed by people who are at high risk. He said it will probably be the second or third quarter of 2021 before enough vaccine is available for everyone in Arkansas.

Romero also said that a third vaccine which is being tested has shown promise to be effective and more tests on that vaccine are being conducted.

Governor Asa Hutchinson said during the briefing that there were 2,122 people who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, with 14 additional hospitalizations which brings the number of those in the hospital to 988. A total of 18 additional deaths were reported over the past 24 hours.

The Governor also talked about contact tracing and said the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has created new guidelines for contract tracing which places a high priority on those people who tested positive in the past 6 days, Hutchinson said those cases are being assigned to a nurse from the Arkansas Department of Health of a nurse under contract with the state. Cases with positive results more than six days old will be followed up by non-nurse contract tracer.