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:
• 259,357 cumulative confirmed cases, up 134 from Tuesday.
• 120 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, no change from Tuesday.
• 2,857,923 PCR test reports, up 6,484 from Tuesday.
• 9.1% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 71,041 cumulative probable cases, up 78 from Tuesday.
• 16% cumulative antigen infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 1,695 active confirmed and probable cases, down 23 from Tuesday.
• 323,032 recoveries of confirmed and probable cases, up 223 from Tuesday.
• 1,755,140 vaccine doses received, up 18,980 from Tuesday.
• 1,010,188 doses given, up 20,080 from Tuesday.
• 166 hospitalizations, down four from Tuesday.
• 27 cases on a ventilator, up two from Tuesday.
• 63 ICU admissions, no change from Tuesday.
• 4,484 confirmed deaths, up four from Tuesday.
• 1,142 probable deaths, up six from Tuesday.
• 2,064 nursing home deaths, up one from Tuesday.
• 8,440 cumulative confirmed cases in Garland County, up three from Tuesday.
• 6.0 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, down 0.57 from Tuesday.
• 110,905 PCR and antigen test reports, up 173 from Tuesday.
• 83,930 private lab reports, up 140 from Tuesday.
• 26,975 public lab reports, up 33 from Tuesday.
• 20 active confirmed cases in Garland County, no change from Tuesday.
• 8,214 recoveries of confirmed cases in Garland County, up three from Tuesday.
• 1,590 cumulative probable cases in Garland County, no change from Tuesday.
• 206 confirmed deaths, no change from Tuesday.
• 49 probable deaths, no change from Tuesday.
The city of Hot Springs Intracity Transit bus system is offering free rides to vaccination appointments, effective today, the city said Wednesday in a news release.
"The free rides will be in effect to and from scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointments, and will be provided on the fixed route bus service and the paratransit service," the release said. "This announcement comes as additional vaccination sites and more populations are eligible for vaccines across the city.
"Hot Springs Intracity Transit has continued to provide essential public transit services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the department is eager to assist more citizens to get vaccinated."
The Health Department reported 14 confirmed deaths in Garland County last month, down from the 22 reported in February. Forty confirmed deaths were reported in January, 31 in December, 36 in November and 15 in October.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday's lifting of the mask mandate he enacted through executive action last summer was appropriate, even in light of the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's call for states to continue their mask directives.
The state's was lifted based on hospitalizations being below 750. The state reported 166 Wednesday. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals hasn't been at 750 since Feb. 9, and active confirmed and probable cases decreased for the 11th-straight day Wednesday.
"We made our decision in Arkansas based on the criteria that we set," Hutchinson said during his weekly virus update. "That is a goal that we had. We achieved that. We stuck with the principle that was outlined. People in Arkansas know what needs to be done, and we expect them to do the right thing with their neighbors and businesses. I think that's what Arkansas is about."