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☷ Hot Springs Arkansas - HS GC COVID Task Force Active cases  and hospitalizations reach low levels

☷ Hot Springs Arkansas - HS GC COVID Task Force Active cases and hospitalizations reach low levels

Hot Springs , state Arkansas
| 17
   
   Although some of the area’s COVID - 19 statistics continue to fluctuate week to week , the main indicators of the status of the pandemic – the number of active cases and those requiring hospitalization – are staying in steady decline .
   At the March 14 meeting of the Hot Springs/Garland County COVID - 19 Task Force , Garland County Health Officer Dr . Gene Shelby shared the current low active case count of 21 . Also , there were only four COVID patients being treated at area hospitals , with one in intensive care , according to representatives from CHI St . Vincent and National Park Medical Center .
   Shelby’s Garland County COVID statistic report for the week of March 6 – 13 included 253 new cases , or an average of 36 per day , which is up from the previous week’s 208 new cases and 29 . 7 new cases per day . The positivity rate of 26% was up from the previous week’s 17 . 5% . Active cases fell from 36 the previous week to 21 , at the time of the meeting , which is the lowest active case count since nearly a year ago on April 5 , 2021 . There were 10 reported COVID - 19 deaths last week .
   Shelby explained that aside from the active case count , other statewide statistics are not providing a clear picture of the current state of the virus in our community . COVID test results , which can be sent to the state health department from a variety of national labs , are likely to include positive results from previous weeks . At - home testing also continues to be prevalent .
   Shelby said that overall , Garland County continues to look good , but COVID has proven to be unpredictable . “There are no current indicators of another possible spike , but this virus has tricked us before . With vaccinations and awareness , we are in a good place , ” said Shelby . “Whether or not the pandemic is close to being over remains to be an open question . ”
   Noting that the task force has been meeting for almost exactly two years to date , and the challenges the community has faced during that time , Shelby gave a positive assessment of our community . “Not to say that we won’t have other issues , or even COVID - related issues , but I think that we can be proud of ourselves as a community for addressing this really terrible , terrible disease . We will probably end up with over 500 deaths in our community from COVID - 19 . That is a big thing , and will probably be a big thing in the history of Hot Springs , ” said Shelby . “But I feel good about where we are , and I feel good about our sense of community in rising to the occasion to deal with this terrible pandemic . ”
   Hospital representatives were pleased to report the low number of COVID patients , down to four from 22 two weeks ago . One spokesperson noted an increase in flu patients .
   Only two cases were reported from the five public school districts attending the virtual meeting .  
   The Garland County Health Unit continues to administer the influenza ( flu ) vaccine , as well as the following COVID vaccines: pediatric ( ages 5 – 18 ) and adult - dose Pfizer , the initial and booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson and booster doses for ages 16 - 17 . No appointments are needed for these vaccines or boosters .
   Free COVID testing is available until 3 p . m . on Monday through Thursday , and until noon on Fridays , by appointment only . To make an appointment , call 501 - 624 - 3394 .  
   The health unit continues to offer its full range of health services inside its facility , such as family planning appointments during the week between Monday through Thursday . Along with requiring a face mask to enter , the health unit also has a machine that takes people’s temperatures . Those with elevated temperatures are not allowed to enter . The health unit is located at 1425 Malvern Avenue and is open from 8 a . m . – 4 p . m . on Monday and Wednesday through Friday , and from 9:30 a . m . – 6 p . m . on Tuesday .  
   The United Way of the Ouachitas continues to have an online application for COVID - 19 assistance for area families and individuals affected by the pandemic at
   https://www . unitedwayouachitas . org/covid - 19 - application
    . To donate to the COVID - 19 Relief Fund , visit 
   www . bit . ly/UWO - COVID
    , call 501 - 623 - 2505 or send a check by mail at 233 Hobson Avenue , Hot Springs , AR 71913 .
   The task force will go from having bi - weekly to monthly meetings moving forward , with the understanding that special meetings can be called , or a return to more frequent meetings , should the need arise . Even if COVID - 19 moves into the endemic phase , the task force has proposed maintaining monthly meetings so the group can continue to collaborate on other health - related community issues . “We ( the Garland County Health Unit ) could not have made it these past two years without the support of this task force , ” said Susan Lester , director of the health unit .
   For continued COVID - 19 updates . . .
   

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