COVID-19 Hot Springs Updates

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With the rapidly evolving scenarios associated with the spread of the COVID-19, the City of Hot Springs strives to keep our community abreast of all updates related to our local task force, City and City department updates and any information that may be of assistance.

Below are the most recent COVID-19 press releases and updates from the City, Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force, and the State of Arkansas, as well as links to release/update archives.


(07/31/20) Plans established for high school sports to proceed this fall

The following statistics were shared Friday at Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Little Rock and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s website:

  • 42,511 total confirmed cases, up 752 from 41,759 on Thursday. 
  • 6,645 active cases, up 65 from Thursday.
  • 35,413 recoveries, up 676 from Thursday.
  • 453 deaths, up 11 from Thursday.
  • 507 cases requiring hospitalization, up three from Thursday.
  • 100 cases requiring a ventilator, down one from Thursday.  
  • 786 cumulative cases in Garland County; today’s data yet available.
  • 238 active cases in Garland County; today’s data not yet available.
  • 541 recoveries in Garland County; today’s data yet available.
  • 7 deaths in Garland County; today’s data yet available.

In the past 24 hours, the number of new cases was 752, with 719 from the community and 33 from correctional facilities. The governor shared the top counties for new case counts, which included Sebastian with 81, Pulaski with 77, Benton with 51, Washington with 41, Independence with 31, Crittenden with 29, Union with 29, Mississippi with 25, Jefferson with 23, Saline with 21 and Craighead with 20. 

There were 7,207 test results received by ADH in the past 24 hours. The governor said he was pleased that the testing went up significantly in the past day and that, despite this increase, the new case count remained flat. He acknowledged that “the positivity rate is not good” and that “the state has a lot of work to do in this area” to bring the rolling average down below the CDC’s recommended high point of 10%. “We’ve got to watch that. We’ve got to do better in terms of positivity, which just means there’s a lot of spread in our communities still,” he said.

Hutchinson announced that steps are being taken “to lead the state to be able to have a regular sports season this fall.” A plan was approved by the state from the Arkansas Athletic Association (AAA) for football teams to have practice with helmets next week, August 3-7. AAA will be presenting a plan to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) to allow regular seasons for football, volleyball and cheerleading this fall. ADH will review and develop guidelines for mitigating the virus risk associated with contact sports. A high school sports advisory group is also being formed to make recommendations to the governor and to assist ADH in best practices for protecting student athletes and school personnel. Cheerleading and volleyball will also be practicing next week, and guidelines for school bands should be released next week as well. 

“Sports is a very important part of the development of our youth,” he said, mentioning that he had heard this sentiment from parents, student athletes, coaches and many other educators. “If we do not have sports, then many of the student athletes will be traveling out of state to participate in sports, which adds another level of risk.”

The governor and Dr. Jose Romero explained that high school contact sports will be a fluid situation in which they learn as practice begins, which may also benefit the reopening of schools in general.

“We have over three weeks before school starts with students in the classroom, and we’re going to learn from the next three weeks of training and practice in the fields of sports, cheerleading and other activities. We will learn what adjustments need to be made, and we will improve our safety protocols,” he said.

The governor set a challenge for student athletes after making this announcement. 

“My message for the football players for Monday is to grab your helmet and be ready for practice. Then after practice, I want you to grab your mask so that you can protect others that you might be around. And this is very important as we enter into this season that the risk is not just on the practice field, but the risk is also as we go about the community. And our coaches, our trainers need to emphasize this the players. They need to understand it, and they need to set the example for their peers about wearing masks. And even during this time of athletic competition, to support our state in staying healthy along with everyone else,” he said.

 [Read previous statewide updates]

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(07/27/20)  Garland County virus cases continue on 'major upward trend'

Garland County averaged 30 new COVID-19 cases reported daily from July 19 – 26, with a total of 210 new cases for the week, according to Garland County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby at the Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force virtual meeting on July 27.

“The numbers don’t look good,” said Shelby. “We are certainly on a major upward trend.”

Testing in the county hit an all-time high at almost 2,000 tests samples collected during the week, but with 210 new positives, the percentage of positive cases also hit a record high at 10.6%. Active cases rose from 125 on July 20 to 215 on July 26. There are an additional 11 individuals the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is monitoring for possible exposure. Deaths have remained at five for the county.

Shelby said that the active cases are still distributed throughout the county. Royal has 13 confirmed cases, which is up by five from the previous week. All other rural communities have fewer than 10. He credited the Garland County portion of Hot Springs Village for continuing to show low numbers, attributing that populated area’s lack of spread to the efforts being taken by individuals there.

The Hispanic community within Garland County had another rise in cases, from 31 to 41, or from 16% of to 18% of the county’s cases.

In terms of the trend in age groups, the percentage of positives from those under 25 years of age has increased from 25% to 29% of the area cases. Of the 226 current active/monitoring case total, there are 33 between the ages of 6 and 18, or our school-age youth. “We even have eight cases in children 5 years of age and younger,” added Shelby.

Together, National Park Medical Center (NPMC) and CHI St. Vincent (CHI) have had a slight decrease in COVID-19 patients. Both hospitals continue to provide a safe, sterile environment for all COVID and non-COVID patients, employees and visitors. NPMC is updating its visitation policy to restrict access to the intensive care unit (ICU). CHI is amending its visitation policy for the emergency room waiting room in that if there are patients waiting in the lobby, each visitor will be asked to wait in their vehicle or outside the facility for a phone call to join their loved one once the patient is in an examination room. Both hospitals reported having high volumes of critical care patients, but the increase is not necessarily related to the pandemic.

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all our healthcare facilities in Hot Springs,” said Garland County Judge Darryl Mahoney. “They had enough to do before this pandemic hit. It’s got to be very unnerving and emotionally draining. I certainly appreciate all they continue to do on the frontline of this issue, and I know the people in our community do too.”

Mahoney also shared that he appreciates how the community in Hot Springs and Garland County seems to be abiding by the face mask mandate, having seen a majority of people downtown and in big-box stores wearing masks. Hot Springs Police Chief Chris Chapmond affirmed the judge’s account, and added that those walking downtown, if not wearing a mask, appeared to be carrying one with them and were abiding by social distancing guidelines.

The Garland County Health Unit, 501-624-3394, collected 138 COVID-19 test samples during the past week. They are providing Hispanic patients with information about the coronavirus in Spanish, which is also available online at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-for-spanish-speaking-arkansans. For individuals who come for COVID-19 testing, health unit representatives provide an informational flyer with three steps the individuals should take while awaiting the test results – stay at home and monitor their health, think about people they have recently been around and answer their phone when the health department calls with the results.

An update for those in isolation was recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “For most persons with COVID-19 illness, isolation and precautions can generally be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms,” according to CDC.gov. “For persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive…[COVID-19] test.”

The United Way of the Ouachitas (UWO) application for individuals and families who have suffered loss of employment as a result of COVID-19 is online at https://www.unitedwayouachitas.org/covid-19-application. Applicants can choose from assistance in several categories, including food, rent, utility bills, medical/prescription costs and costs for gas or public transportation. 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. “There were people at our office at 8 a.m. this morning, so there is no shortage of people in our community who need assistance,” said Sarah Fowler, UWO executive director.

Drive-thru Evaluation Sites in Garland County

  • Apollo Medical (111 Cordoba Center, Hot Springs Village):  8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday; 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday; 501-226-3220
  • Convenient Care Clinic (100 McGowan Court, Hot Springs): 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday; 501-525-9675
  • Convenient Care Clinic (4419 Hwy 7 North, Hot Springs Village):  8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Thursday; 501-213-1148
  • Garland County Health Unit (1425 Malvern Avenue, Hot Springs): 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday; 501-624-3394
  • Healthy Connections (3604 Central Avenue, Hot Springs):  8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Friday; 888-710-8220
  • Healthy Connections (1723 Malvern Avenue, Hot Springs):  8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Friday; 888-710-8220
  • First Care Walk-In Clinic (120 Adcock Road, Garland County):  7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday;
    1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday; 501-651-4500
  • Sherwood Urgent Care (201 Airport Road, Hot Springs):  8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday; 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday; 501-547-9481
  • Walmart (1601 Albert Pike Road): Online evaluation and scheduling at www.DoINeedACOVID19Test.com, or call 1-800-635-8611
    HS GC COVID-19 testing sites and hotline flyer 7-23-20

Download a PDF flyer of the testing sites in Garland County to print/display/share.

Questions about the recently passed mask ordinance?

Click here for Ordinance 6338.

Click here for Q & A concerning O6338.

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Symptomatic?    

Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Call Center

501-760-4307

(8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

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ADH Call Center

1-800-803-7847

(8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

1-800-554-5738

(After hours/weekends)

ADH.Coronavirus@arkansas.gov

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Community Service Assistance

Call Arkansas 2-1-1  

2-1-1

2-1-1 is a free telephone service that connects individuals in need to important community services in the state of Arkansas.

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Online Resource Guide

www.hsresourceguide.org

Serving eight counties in the Ouachita Region, the guide lists up-to-date information for an array of services available.

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Unemployed?    

Arkansas Department of Workforce Services Unemployment Hotline

1-844-908-2178

(6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday)

arunemployment.com

Family / Personal Wellbeing  

Child Abuse Hotline

1-844-Save-A-Child

(24/7)

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Mental Health and Addiction Services Support Line

1-844-763-0198

(8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday)

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

(24/7)