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COVID-19 update: Infection curve continues to rise

by David Showers | November 17, 2021 at 4:03 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

The 814 new cases the Arkansas Department of Health reported Tuesday were the most since Oct. 9, raising the state's infection curve to its highest point in almost four weeks.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases has risen 24% in the last week. Active cases in public schools are over 1,200, according to a report the Health Department released Monday, a 33% increase since the start of the month.

"Last week we observed an outbreak in a school in Conway," Dr. Jose Romero, the state's secretary of health, said Monday during the state's weekly COVID-19 press update. "Those cases continue to increase. The overwhelming majority are in students. We are observing what we did not observe last year, which is transmission among students within school. That is a product of not having those children immunized and relaxing the mask requirements.

"Even though there is no requirement, the way to protect your child is to use the mask and to proceed with immunizing that age group. This is not a benign disease. This is not as mild as the flu. This can have very significant consequences, hospitalizations and deaths, including longer-term complications."

Education Secretary Johnny Key said the timing of the uptick mirrors last year's rise.

"It follows with what we saw last year," he said. "In the weeks following Halloween, there seemed to be an increase in the number of cases identified in the schools. That gives us a reason to say, 'let's continue with caution.'

"Our school districts, many of them have policies set where they're looking at the number of cases in the school to determine what to do with our mask policies. Those are things we want schools to continue to use good judgment. We want parents to continue to use good judgment. We want to take all the precautions we can."

As a service to our readers, The Sentinel-Record publishes updates released by the city of Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas.

The Arkansas Department of Health is no longer reporting confirmed and probable cases separately. The following stats were posted Tuesday on the Health Department's website:

• 520,725 cumulative cases, up 814 from Monday.

• 532.14 rolling seven-day average of new cases, up 28.57 from Monday.

• 4,168,333 PCR test reports, up 4,545 from Monday.

• 9.2% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Monday.

• 5,115 active cases, up 330 from Monday.

• 1,437 active juvenile cases, up 78 from Monday.

• 506,869 recoveries, up 468 from Monday.

• 4,305,260 vaccine doses received, up 7,400 from Monday.

• 3,291,391 doses given, up 9,984 from Monday.

• 276 hospitalizations, down six from Monday.

• 63 cases on ventilators, up five from Monday.

• 122 ICU patients, up three from Monday.

• 8,592 deaths, up 13 from Monday.

• 2,261 nursing home deaths, up one from Monday.

• 16,101 cumulative cases in Garland County, up eight from Monday.

• Nine rolling seven-day average of new cases, up 0.43 from Monday.

• 163,071 PCR and antigen test reports, up 126 from Monday.

• 10.2% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Monday.

• 79 active cases in Garland County, up six from Monday.

• 15,624 recoveries in Garland County, up two from Monday.

• 398 deaths, no change from Monday.

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