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COVID-19 update: State has long road to herd immunity

April 23, 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 Thursday on the Arkansas Department of Health website:

• 261,910 cumulative confirmed cases, up 108 from Wednesday.

• 123.86 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, down 15.43 from Wednesday.

• 2,944,594 PCR test reports, up 4,491 from Wednesday.

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

• 72,312 cumulative probable cases, up 53 from Wednesday.

• 15.5% cumulative antigen infection rate, no change from Wednesday.

• 1,923 active confirmed and probable cases, down 20 from Wednesday.

• 326,534 recoveries of confirmed and probable cases, up 178 from Wednesday.

• 2,386,820 vaccine doses received, up 33,840 from Wednesday.

• 1,599,699 doses given, up 20,648 from Wednesday.

• 171 hospitalizations, down four from Wednesday.

• 22 cases on a ventilator, down two from Wednesday.

• 4,535 confirmed deaths, up three from Wednesday.

• 1,176 probable deaths, no change from Wednesday.

• 2,071 nursing home deaths, no change from Wednesday.

• 8,489 cumulative confirmed cases in Garland County, up one from Wednesday.

• 1.71 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, down 1.29 from Wednesday.

• 114,790 PCR and antigen test reports, up 167 from Wednesday.

• 86,832 private lab reports, up 125 from Wednesday.

• 27,958 public lab reports, up 42 from Wednesday.

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

• 23 active confirmed cases in Garland County, no change from Wednesday.

• 8,256 recoveries of confirmed cases in Garland County, up one from Wednesday.

• 1,600 cumulative probable cases in Garland County, up two from Wednesday.

• 210 confirmed deaths, no change from Wednesday.

• 49 probable deaths, no change from Wednesday.

With public health directives no longer in place, the state is relying on vaccines to end the pandemic.

But the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health said the state has a long way to go on the road to herd immunity.

"The state is nowhere near the 70% to 90% vaccination level needed to achieve herd immunity," the college said in the report it released Tuesday with its updated predictive model. Herd immunity "is not achieved by vaccinating risk groups, but by vaccinating a large portion of the general population."

According to the report, the rate of fully vaccinated adults in the state's 75 counties as of April 8 ranged from a low of 4% in Miller County to a high of 26% in Bradley and Desha counties.

Twenty-two percent of Garland County adults were fully vaccinated as of last week, up from 17% March 26.

"If we flip the vaccination statistics around, 94% to 74% of county populations are at risk (unvaccinated) for COVID-19 infection or reinfection with the virus," the report said.

"We mention re-infection because the variants circulating in the United States and Arkansas are known to be able to reinfect those who were infected with the original variant.

"Furthermore, many individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 are now months out of their original infection, ultimately increasing their potential for reinfection as their antibodies begin to dwindle."

The report said vaccinating children should be part of the state's herd immunity strategy. At his weekly virus update Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the Alma, Bentonville and El Dorado school districts have vaccinated more than 500 of their students who are 16 and older.

Dr. Jose Romero, the state's secretary of health and chairman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, said he's hopeful regulators will approve a vaccine for children 12 and older by the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Print Headline: COVID-19 update

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