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☷ Hot Springs Arkansas - HS GC COVID Task Force Active case count increases slightly after eight week decline

☷ Hot Springs Arkansas - HS GC COVID Task Force Active case count increases slightly after eight week decline

Hot Springs , state Arkansas
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   After eight weeks of declining active cases in Garland County , the number rose to 25 as of Monday , March 21 , an increase of four from a week prior .
   The Hot Springs/Garland County COVID - 19 Task Force is meeting monthly and did not convene this week , but Health Officer Dr . Gene Shelby provided his weekly COVID - 19 statistic update electronically to the group . He explained that for the week of March 13 – 20 , the statistics were “somewhat of a mixed bag . ” He also said there is evidence that the Arkansas Department of Health is still adding old reports .
   There were 134 new cases added last week , or an average of 19 . 1 cases per day , down from the previous week’s 36 . 1 daily average . There were 1 , 258 test results , up from the previous week’s 976 . The positivity rate improved from 26% and 17 . 5% the past two weeks to 10 . 3% . Shelby said he was saddened to report a new milestone with seven recorded deaths , bringing the county’s total to 500 .
   Looking ahead , Shelby said there is concern that there the area may be starting to see an uptick in cases due to the BA . 2 sub - variant of the omicron virus . It is accounting for up to 25% of the new cases in the United States and appears to be 30 - 50% more transmissible than the original omicron .
   “Fortunately , our current vaccines are effective against it , and probably people who have been infected also have some immunity , ” said Shelby . “The hope is that this will just be an uptick and not a surge . But , based on what is happening in Western Europe , we should expect these things here over the next weeks and months . ”
   Shelby said he hopes “with warmer weather and the end of the school year , this won’t be a huge issue , but does merit close observation . ”
   For continued COVID - 19 updates . . .
   

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