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:
• 260,055 cumulative confirmed cases, up 126 from Tuesday.
• 99.71 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, down 1.15 from Tuesday.
• 2,885,764 PCR test reports, up 5,388 from Tuesday.
• 9.0% cumulative antigen infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 71,450 cumulative probable cases, up 118 from Tuesday.
• 15.8% cumulative antigen infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 1,925,600 vaccine doses received, up 43,700 from Tuesday.
• 1,304,033 doses given, up 27,358 from Tuesday.
• 1,649 active confirmed and probable cases, up 47 from Tuesday.
• 324,149 recoveries of confirmed and probable cases, up 189 from Tuesday.
• 150 hospitalizations, down two from Tuesday.
• 20 cases on a ventilator, down six from Tuesday.
• 67 ICU patients, no change from Tuesday.
• 4,510 confirmed deaths, up five from Tuesday.
• 1,150 probable deaths, up two from Tuesday.
• 2,066 nursing home deaths, up one from Tuesday.
• 8,458 cumulative confirmed cases in Garland County, up three from Tuesday.
• 2.57 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, no change from Tuesday.
• 112,496 PCR and antigen test reports, up 210 from Tuesday.
• 85,058 private lab reports, up 210 from Tuesday.
• 27,438 public lab reports, no change from Tuesday.
• 8.7% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Tuesday.
• 25 active confirmed cases in Garland County, up three from Tuesday.
• 8,227 recoveries of confirmed cases in Garland County, no change from Tuesday.
• 1,596 cumulative probable cases in Garland County, up one from Tuesday.
• Five active probable cases in Garland County, up one from Tuesday.
• 206 confirmed deaths, no change from Tuesday.
• 49 probable deaths, no change from Tuesday.
The lifting of public health directives before most Arkansans have been fully vaccinated is tempting fate, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health said.
"With the ending of the statewide mask mandate, Arkansas is taking a risk," the college said in the report it released earlier this week with its updated predictive model. "Without wider vaccination, the downward trend in COVID-19 cases can only be maintained by public health mitigation efforts. Chief among these efforts -- and the one most under individual control -- is wearing a face mask.
"It is understandable that people are experiencing COVID fatigue. However, the state is nowhere near herd immunity. Being tired of masks or social distancing a while longer is far preferable, both from a population and an individual perspective, than a resurgence of the virus."
The report said herd immunity won't be reached until 80% to 90% of the population is vaccinated. As of late March, county vaccination rates ranged from 3% to 20%, according to the report.
"Percentages of populations vaccinated are important, because the virus does not discern vaccination eligibility demarcations," the report said. "Herd immunity is not achieved by vaccinating risk groups, but by vaccinating the general population.
"Children are part of the general population. Children can spread COVID-19 and, even with school mitigation practices in place, children are at high risk of infection because they are concentrated in a closed environment."