Hospitalizations fell below 600 Thursday for the first time since July 12, providing further evidence that the summer wave that stressed the health care system has abated.
The 593 hospitalizations reported Thursday were 59% lower than the peak of 1,459 reached Aug. 16. Hospitalizations began to rise around Memorial Day, increasing 630% over the next 11 weeks.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said bills the Legislature recently passed in response to federal vaccine mandates President Joe Biden announced last month could create problems for employers. Employers with more than 100 workers would have to mandate vaccines or weekly tests for their workforce, a requirement the federal government will enforce through the Department of Labor's jurisdiction over the workplace.
"I don't believe in a federal mandate on vaccination, but I also don't believe in state mandates as well on employers and defining the employer-employee relationship and what employers can and cannot do in terms of the public health," Hutchinson said Wednesday during his weekly press update. "I intend to talk to the Department of Labor that is going to be coming down with their own guidelines based upon the president's vaccine mandate.
"I want to see how that's going to fit and whether the employer is going to be caught in a bind between the federal requirements and what the state law may require."
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 Thursday on the Health Department's website:
• 500,779 cumulative cases, up 893 from Wednesday.
• 671.71 rolling seven-day average of new cases, down 15.86 from Wednesday.
• 3,964,873 PCR test reports, up 6,400 from Wednesday.
• 9.3% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Wednesday.
• 7,690 active cases, down 189 from Wednesday.
• 2,017 active juvenile cases, down 59 from Wednesday.
• 485,159 recoveries, up 1,060 from Wednesday.
• 3,870,540 vaccine doses received, up 14,160 from Wednesday.
• 2,967,629 doses given, up 10,525 from Wednesday.
• 593 hospitalizations, down 31 from Wednesday.
• 173 cases on ventilators, no change from Wednesday.
• 280 ICU patients, up one from Wednesday.
• 7,802 deaths, up 21 from Wednesday.
• 2,212 nursing home deaths, no change from Wednesday.
• 15,707 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 15 from Wednesday.
• 14.29 rolling seven-day average of new cases, down 1.28 from Wednesday.
• 156,482 PCR and antigen test reports, up 147 from Wednesday.
• 10.3% cumulative PCR infection rate, no change from Wednesday.
• 150 active cases in Garland County, down 19 from Wednesday.
• 15,183 recoveries in Garland County, up 34 from Wednesday.
• 374 deaths, no change from Wednesday.