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COVID-19 update: Governor says unemployment rate sign of recovery

April 17, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). - Image by CDC via The Associated Press

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 Friday on the Arkansas Department of Health website:

• 261,214 cumulative confirmed cases, up 171 from Thursday.

• 126.86 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, up 7.29 from Thursday.

• 2,923,106 PCR test reports, up 4,917 from Thursday.

• 8.9% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Thursday.

• 71,972 cumulative probable cases, up 66 from Thursday.

• 15.6% cumulative antigen infection rate, no change from Thursday.

• 1,892 active confirmed and probable cases, up 49 from Thursday.

• 325,550 recoveries of confirmed and probable cases, up 181 from Thursday.

• 2,155,640 vaccine doses received, up 14,070 from Thursday.

• 1,501,518 doses given, up 23,066 from Thursday.

• 152 hospitalizations, down one from Thursday.

• 15 cases on a ventilator, down three from Thursday.

• 50 ICU patients, down seven from Thursday.

• 4,520 confirmed deaths, no change from Thursday.

• 1,172 probable deaths, up six from Thursday.

• 2,069 nursing home deaths, up one from Thursday.

• 8,481 cumulative confirmed cases in Garland County, up four from Thursday.

• 2.71 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, up 0.57 from Thursday.

• 113,905 PCR and antigen test reports, up 403 from Thursday.

• 85,994 private lab reports, up 248 from Thursday.

• 27,911 public lab reports, up 155 from Thursday.

• 8.6% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Thursday.

• 22 active confirmed cases in Garland County, down four from Thursday.

• 8,253 recoveries of confirmed cases in Garland County, up nine from Thursday.

• 1,597 cumulative probable cases in Garland County, up two from Thursday.

• Four active probable cases in Garland County, up one from Thursday.

• 206 confirmed deaths, no change from Thursday.

• 49 probable deaths, no change from Thursday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Arkansas' 4.4% unemployment rate for March signals the state economy is returning to pre-pandemic levels.

The national unemployment rate for March was 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The agency hasn't released March unemployment data for the Hot Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its preliminary report for February showed a 6.8% rate.

The rate was 4.1% in February 2020.

"The decline in the unemployment rate is another encouraging sign that we are emerging from the pandemic, and Arkansans have increasing opportunities to return to good-paying jobs," Hutchinson said Friday in a news release.

"We do need to increase the numbers in the workforce, and the pandemic has reduced the number of Arkansans available to work. Hopefully, this is short term because hundreds of employers need workers each day."

Hutchinson said 900,000 Arkansans have received at least one dose of vaccine.

"My goal is to have 1 million shots in arms by next week," he said.

"Help us meet that goal. The doses are available to meet current demand, so don't wait, and get your vaccine as soon as you can."

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