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's website:
• 265,641 cumulative confirmed cases, up 146 from Thursday.
• 131.57 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, down 4.14 from Thursday.
• 3,032,679 PCR test reports, up 2,860 from Thursday.
• 8.8% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Thursday.
• 74,222 cumulative probable cases, up 55 from Thursday.
• 14.6% cumulative antigen infection rate, down from 14.7% Thursday.
• 2,056 active confirmed and probable cases, up three from Thursday.
• 331,940 recoveries of confirmed and probable cases, up 195 from Thursday.
• 2,612,360 vaccine doses received, up 8,220 from Thursday
• 1,916,696 doses given, up 12,521 from Thursday.
• 188 hospitalizations, down 15 from Thursday.
• 32 cases on a ventilator, no change from Thursday.
• 80 ICU patients, down three from Thursday.
• 4,611 confirmed deaths, up two from Thursday.
• 1,200 probable deaths, up one from Thursday.
• 2,086 nursing home deaths, up one from Thursday.
• 8,622 cumulative confirmed cases in Garland County, up 12 from Thursday
• 9.43 rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases, up 0.71 from Thursday.
• 117,500 PCR and antigen test reports, up 190 from Thursday.
• 89,378 private lab reports, up 184 from Thursday.
• 28,122 public lab reports, up six from Thursday.
• 8.5% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Thursday.
• 74 active confirmed cases in Garland County, up nine from Thursday.
• 8,338 recoveries of confirmed cases in Garland County, up three from Thursday.
• 1,630 cumulative probable cases in Garland County, up seven from Thursday.
• 23 active probable cases in Garland County, up seven from Thursday.
• 210 confirmed deaths, no change from Thursday.
• 49 probable deaths, no change from Thursday.
Garland County's polymerase chain reaction-confirmed infection curve rose for the sixth straight day Friday, as the county's rolling seven-day average of new confirmed cases threatened to reach double digits for the first time since mid-March.
The 12 new confirmed cases reported Friday marked the first time since March 5 that new confirmed cases were in the double digits on consecutive days. The county's active confirmed case count has risen almost 200% since Monday, reaching its highest level since March 18.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson earlier this week announced a vaccination incentive program for state employees who work for executive branch agencies. They'll receive a $200 bonus if they get vaccinated. He also announced a $6.4 million advertising campaign to promote vaccinations.
But the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health said incentives and promotion may not be enough to get the state to herd immunity. The college said vaccines can be required once they receive full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA granted emergency use authorizations for all three vaccines currently in use.
"Mandatory vaccination has not received enough discussion in the literature or in the media," the college said in the report it released earlier this week with its updated predictive model. "This may be because until quite recently, mandatory vaccination for COVID-19 seemed remote. Not so much anymore.
"At least one COVID-19 vaccine is expected to apply for full FDA approval in the next few months. If the FDA approves, employees, first responders, health care workers and students can all be required to get vaccinated to keep their jobs or to enroll in classes. While it may not be politically possible to enact statewide mandated vaccination, large private and public employers, universities/colleges and schools should seriously discuss mandatory vaccinations before that time is upon us."