CDC lowers county infection classification

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer advising Garland County residents to wear masks indoors.

CDC guidelines updated last week said 70% of Americans live in areas where masks are no longer recommended indoors. Garland County was not among them, as its “high” community levels of COVID-19 recommended that masks be worn indoors despite the county’s infection curve declining.

The county’s infection level was reclassified to “low” on Thursday. According to the guidelines, personal preferences and risk tolerance should inform the decision to wear a mask in areas with low infection rates.

The state reported 50 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday for the second time in three days, bringing the number of deaths reported since the start of the year to 1,513. The state had reported 1,585 year-to-date deaths this time last year, when vaccines had not yet been made available to the general population.

Fourteen deaths have been reported in Garland County in the past nine days, bringing its year-to-date total to 51. Seventy-eight year-to-date deaths had been reported at the same time Last year.

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 no longer reports confirmed and probable cases separately. The following statistics were released on the Department of Health website on Thursday:

• 821,717 cumulative cases, up 481 from Wednesday.

• 559.86 seven-day moving average of new cases, down 12.85 from Wednesday.

• 4,972,809 PCR test reports, up 4,723 from Wednesday.

• Cumulative PCR infection rate of 11.6%, unchanged from Wednesday.

• 4,100 active cases, down 362 from Wednesday.

• 649 active juvenile cases, down 64 from Wednesday.

• 806,720 recoveries, up 793 from Wednesday.

• 5,163,750 doses of vaccine received, up 2,700 from Wednesday.

• 3,954,677 doses administered, up 1,840 from Wednesday.

• 410 hospitalizations, down 22 from Wednesday.

• 68 cases on ventilators, down one from Wednesday.

• 126 patients in intensive care, down 11 from Wednesday.

• 10,661 deaths, up 50 from Wednesday.

• 2,350 deaths in retirement homes, no change from Wednesday.

• 22,582 cumulative cases in Garland County, up four from Wednesday.

• 16.43 seven-day moving average of new cases, up 0.14 from Wednesday.

• 191,794 PCR and antigen test reports, up 120 from Wednesday.

• Cumulative PCR infection rate of 12.1%, unchanged from Wednesday.

• 54 active cases in Garland County, down 14 from Wednesday.

• 22,053 recoveries in Garland County, up 17 from Wednesday.

• 475 deaths, one more than Wednesday.

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