A record number of new cases was reported Friday in Garland County, the second straight day of record-setting infections.
The 285 new infections reported Friday raised the county's infection curve for the 18th time in 19 days. The curve has risen almost 900% since Christmas. The county's active cases peaked for the third straight day Friday, rising 760% since Christmas, and its cumulative polymerase chain reaction-confirmed infection rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point for the third straight day.
The third straight day of five-figure new infections reported statewide Friday raised the state's infection curve for the 23rd straight day. The rolling seven-day average of new cases peaked for the 13th straight day, and active cases reached record levels for the 11th straight day.
Hospitalizations rose for the 15th straight day, topping 1,300 for the first time since late August.
Several public health officials have said an omicron infection is almost unavoidable, but the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health said infection isn't inevitable.
"Should we just accept that COVID is going to infect all of us?", the college said in the COVID-19 brief it released Friday. "The answer is a resounding, 'No!'
"If we all use the simple public health tools available to us, we can prevent an omicron infection. In combination, up-to-date vaccinations (two plus a booster), conscientious mask-wearing and avoiding large groups of people significantly reduce the risk of omicron infection."
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 Friday on the Health Department's website:
• 664,194 cumulative cases, up 10,405 from Thursday.
• 8,478.71 rolling seven-day average of new cases, up 281.57 from Thursday.
• 4,622,321 PCR test reports, up 19,363 from Thursday.
• 10.3% cumulative PCR infection rate, up from 10.2% Thursday.
• 85,810 active cases, up 6,464 from Thursday.
• 22,937 active juvenile cases, up 2,671 from Thursday.
• 568,758 recoveries, up 3,916 from Thursday.
• 4,758,970 vaccine doses received, up 5,300 from Thursday.
• 3,803,553 doses given, up 8,077 from Thursday.
• 1,309 hospitalizations, up 58 from Thursday.
• 172 cases on ventilators, up two from Thursday.
• 375 ICU patients, up 24 from Thursday.
• 9,413 deaths, up 23 from Thursday.
• 2,312 nursing home deaths, up one from Thursday.
• 18,691 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 285 from Thursday.
• 175.71 rolling seven-day average of new cases, up 19.85 from Thursday.
• 178,560 PCR and antigen test reports, up 1,065 from Thursday.
• 10.8% cumulative PCR infection rate, up from 10.7% Thursday.
• 1,712 active cases in Garland County, up 212 from Thursday.
• 16,544 recoveries in Garland County, up 72 from Thursday.
• 435 deaths, up one from Thursday.