As a service to our readers, The Sentinel-Record publishes updates released by the city of Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas.
The following stats were posted Wednesday on the Arkansas Department of Health website:
• 263,630 cumulative confirmed cases, up 220 from Tuesday.
• 146.14 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, up 5.585 from Tuesday.
• 2,986,964 PCR test reports, up 4,292 from Tuesday.
• 8.8% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 73,130 cumulative probable cases, up 78 from Tuesday.
• 15.2% cumulative antigen infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 2,152 active confirmed and probable cases, up 109 from Tuesday.
• 328,798 recoveries of confirmed and probable cases, up 187 from Tuesday.
• 2,534,570 vaccine doses received, up 9,500 from Tuesday.
• 1,766,046 doses given, up 14,426 from Tuesday.
• 181 hospitalizations, down 11 from Tuesday.
• 35 cases on a ventilator, up seven from Tuesday.
• 79 ICU patients, up seven from Tuesday.
• 4,570 confirmed deaths, up one from Tuesday.
• 1,184 probable deaths, up one from Tuesday.
• 2,079 nursing home deaths, up one from Tuesday.
• 8,536 cumulative confirmed cases in Garland County, up eight from Tuesday.
• 3.14 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, down 0.43 from Tuesday.
• 115,847 PCR and antigen test reports, up 123 from Tuesday.
• 87,751 private lab reports, up 117 from Tuesday.
• 28,096 public lab reports, up six from Tuesday.
• 8.5% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 40 active confirmed cases in Garland County, up four from Tuesday.
• 8,286 recoveries of confirmed cases in Garland County, up four from Tuesday.
• 1,605 cumulative probable cases in Garland County, up one from Tuesday.
• Five active probable cases in Garland County, up one from Tuesday.
• 210 confirmed deaths, no change from Tuesday.
• 49 probable deaths, no change from Tuesday.
The 220 new polymerase chain reaction-confirmed cases reported Wednesday were the most reported in six weeks, raising the PCR-confirmed infection curve to its highest level since March 22.
Active confirmed cases and COVID-19 patients on ventilators and in intensive care reported Wednesday were also at their highest levels in six weeks.
“We are seeing an increased number of hospitalizations, an increase in the number of active cases and a slight increase in overall rolling average,” Dr. Jose Romero, the state’s secretary of health, said Tuesday. “It is worrisome to us as epidemiologists and public health people. We want to make sure that this does not continue, because it would indicate we have spread significant amounts of virus in the state.”
Romero said the virus’ B.1.617 strain, the variant that’s sparked an outbreak in India, has not been detected in specimens the state sends out for genetic sequence testing. It’s known as the double variant because it has two mutations seen in other pernicious strains of the virus.
Romero said other strains from India have been detected in the state. As of Monday, variants had been detected in 29 of the state’s 75 counties, including Garland County.
“Last week we had a significant jump in the (United Kingdom) variant, which makes up 75% of variants we see here,” Romero said. “It’s highly transmissible and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. It’s driving the number of hospitalizations in young individuals, children in particular in northern states.
“We’re starting to see more cases in children here than we had. They cannot get the vaccine. One way to protect them is to form a cocoon around them by adults and adolescents receiving the vaccine. Please consider this when deciding whether to take the vaccine or not.”