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.


(10/20/20) 840 new statewide cases to surpass the 100,000 cumulative case mark

The following statistics were shared at the governor’s weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 100,441 total cases, up 840 from Monday.
  • 94,418 total confirmed cases, up 628 from Monday. 
  • 6,023 total probable cases, up 216 from Monday.
  • 8,422 total active cases, down 236 from Monday.
  • 7,159 active confirmed cases, down 291 from Monday.
  • 85,675 recoveries, up 905 from Monday.
  • 1,728 total deaths, up 14 from Monday.
  • 637 cases requiring hospitalization, up 24 from Monday.
  • 101 cases requiring a ventilator, up two from Monday. 
  • 2,275 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 16 from Monday.
  • 161 active cases in Garland County, down four from Monday.
  • 2,052 recoveries in Garland County, up 20 from Monday.
  • 62 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of positive PCR tests added in Arkansas was 628, with 547 from the community and 81 from correctional facilities. There were 216 positive antigen results from a total of 2,429 antigen tests in the past 24 hours. The number of PCR tests completed in the past 24 hours was 5,439. 

The counties with the highest number of new cases in the past 24 hours include Pulaski with 62, Washington with 39, Benton with 38, Craighead with 32, Crittenden with 25, Crawford with 21 and Greene with 20.

In what Hutchinson shared was the 153rd COVID-19 briefing, he provided the update via Zoom due to exposure he had in a meeting last Friday with an individual who later tested positive for the virus. Although there was distancing and masks were worn at that meeting, as well as negative antigen and PCR test results from Hutchinson on Monday, he is limiting his public appearances and meetings out of an abundance of caution. There will be follow-up tests given tomorrow, Friday, next Monday and as needed. Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero and Secretary of Education Johnny Key joined the news conference via Zoom, as well. 

Growth rate charts of new cases in Arkansas between Oct. 11-17 show that by public health region, the Northeast again had the highest percentage of new cases at 8.3%, followed by the Central at 5.4%, Southwest at 5.2%, Northwest at 4.3% and the Southeast at 4.1%. New cases by age group during that same time period show that the 65-and-older group has the highest percentage at 7.5%, followed by the 45-64 group at 5.5% and the 25-44 group at 4.9%. 

Hutchinson shared that the unemployment rate in the state went from 7.4% to 7.3% this last month, which he said is “great news for Arkansans.” He described it as “a slow, downward trend that I hope will continue.”

He said there is concern about the state’s positivity rate, which for several weeks had plateaued well below the 10% mark but has recently started to trend back upward. Also of concern is the rising number of those being hospitalized for COVID-19. He said in talking to Department of Health and hospital officials, “they describe the situation as ‘tight.’”

“We are all worried about the winter and the fact that if our flu season or other hospitalizations go up, it’s hard to manage it all together, and so it’s not just COVID that’s taking hospital space,” he said. “For that reason, we need to really work hard in our flu season to control that and hopefully get our hospitalizations down.”

Romero gave a reminder for everyone to wear facial coverings, socially distance of at least 6 feet and to wash their hands. “The continuing numbers of cases that we are seeing indicates that the mask mandate is not being adhered to as we would like to see it,” he said.

According to Romero, the CDC and ADH are noticing that family gatherings have become more prevalent sources of contagion. He explained that we need to abide by the pandemic guidelines when having such family gatherings, even though our tendency is to let our guards down. He reminded viewers that 30-40% of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, meaning these individuals can spread the disease without even knowing they themselves are carrying it because they do not feel sick or show symptoms. 

Key said that 20 districts or schools have had onsite modifications in the past week, which is higher than the week before. He said there are only 16 active modifications, however. So far this school year there have been a total of 158 modifications. 

“We encourage districts to stay engaged with their Ready for Learning committees to get that local feedback and make adjustments, working with us and the Health Department to do so,” said Key. He explained that some schools and districts are transitioning from virtual to all on-site learning, which eases the workload on teachers. 

When asked about antigen tests being provided for surveillance testing for some schools, Key said the Department of Education and the Department of Health identified school districts to invite to participate. There will two webinars this week to provide these districts with more information so they can see if they want to be a part of this initiative.

Testing numbers are continuing to be high, and the state has almost reached is goal for PCR tests for October as there have already recorded 187,970. The goal for antigen tests has been well exceeded with 24,638 so far this month.

[Read previous statewide updates]

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(10/20/20)  Garland County’s active cases and COVID-19 deaths rise in past week

Following a downward trend for COVID-19 cases in Garland County, the week of Oct. 11 – 18 saw a higher number of new cases, active cases and deaths, while there was a decrease in the number of tests performed.

“Unfortunately, last week was not a very good week,” said Garland County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby at the Oct. 19 virtual meeting of the Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force. “We all need to remember that we are still in the middle of this, and we have to keep pushing forward and recognize we are dealing with a deadly disease. So far, 62 of our fellow Garland County residents have died that probably would not have died otherwise.”

Shelby also shared updated COVID-19 statistics for Garland County. For the week of Oct. 11 – 18, there were 145 new cases reported with an average of 20.7 new cases per day, up from the two previous weeks’ averages of 17.4 and 10.3. The total test count was 2,176, which included routine weekly testing taking place in long-term care facilities. The positivity rate for the week was 6.7%, which is up from recent weeks but still lower than other populated counties in Arkansas, according to Shelby. Active cases at the time of the meeting were at 164, an increase of 52 from the same time the previous week when it was at 112.  

The distribution in the county showed that the Garland County portion of Hot Springs Village increased from two to seven cases; Pearcy is at six cases; and Mountain Pine currently has five cases.

Cases among those with Spanish surnames is down to six cases, or just 3% of the county’s total case count. The 65-and-older age group currently is up to 65 cases, or 33% of the county’s total, which is much higher than the state average of 20%, said Shelby. The 0-17 group went down again this week to 10% of the county’s total, which Shelby said reflects well on the efforts being taken by the school districts. Shelby added that there are at least two nursing homes with 10 or more new cases reported in the past week. The trend of the older age group seeing more cases is also likely contributing to the additional deaths in the county, which saw an increase of eight in the past week making it one of the highest COVID-19 fatality weeks for Garland County since the beginning of the pandemic.

Reports from school district representatives revealed continued challenges in communicating to the public the importance and details of the isolation and quarantine guidelines. Hospitals are reporting increases in COVID-19 patients, as well as flu patients being admitted. The isolation and quarantine measures, along with the other pandemic public health guidelines, are in place to flatten the curve of the rate of infection as to not overwhelm the healthcare system from this highly contagious coronavirus. 

Quarantine means staying at home and away from others after an individual has been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. For those who have been a close contact to a person with COVID-19 (being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes), a quarantine of 14 days from the time of exposure is required. This is essential, even if the close contact individual does not feel sick and even if they receive a negative test for COVID-19. In fact, in most situations in which the close contact is not experiencing symptoms, Shelby and other members of the task force recommend individuals abstain from getting tested for COVID-19. A negative result may occur if the possible infection in the individual has not reached detectible levels for the test, and thus may give a false sense of confidence to return to normal activities.

Isolation is for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Isolation means the individual stays home and away from others while they are infectious. In general, isolation lasts for a minimum of 10 days starting on the day the symptoms first appeared. Isolation is complete after the 10-day period as long as the positive person is without a fever (less than 100.4) without the use of a fever-reducing medication. Other symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath, must also be improving. For those not experiencing symptoms, an isolation period of 10 days from the date of the positive COVID-19 test is required. Longer isolation periods may be required for those with more severe cases or those who have weakened immune systems.

The Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Call Center at 501-760-4307 echoed the challenges of misunderstanding in the public regarding isolation and quarantine.

The Garland County Health Unit collected 119 COVID-19 test samples last week. They also administered 57 flu shots at the clinic, along with 638 at area schools. There is still an ample supply of COVID-19 antigen tests for students, teachers and school staff who are exhibiting symptoms. To decrease possible wait times, it is recommended to call ahead to schedule COVID-19 testing at 501-624-3394. The Garland County Health Unit is located at 1425 Malvern Avenue and is open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday – Friday. Tuesday hours are 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The United Way of the Ouachitas (UWO) continues to give out food boxes and provide individual assistance to those in need. The application for COVID-19 assistance is online 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.

COVID-19 Testing 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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How long should someone Quarantine/Isolate?

Information on Isolation

Information on Quarantine

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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)

Pop Up Testing Locations

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