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.


(10/19/21) 129 active cases in Garland County; Governor gives weekly COVID update

10-19-21 ADH daily chartThe following statistics and information for Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, were shared at a press conference with the governor and/or were posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 15,590 cumulative cases in Garland County, up 14 from Monday.
  • 129 active cases in Garland County, up three from Monday.
  • 15,377 recoveries in Garland County, up nine from Monday.
  • 382 deaths in Garland County, no change from Monday.

There were 661 new cases added statewide today, down from last Tuesday, for which Governor Asa Hutchinson said “continues the good trend.” Active cases also declined by 99 since yesterday to a total of 5,835. Hospitalizations were up one to 461, and there are two fewer patients requiring ventilation, for a total of 129. 

There were 7,255 vaccination doses administered in the past 24 hours adding 3,046 more Arkansans as fully-vaccinated. The portion of Arkansas residents ages 12-18 who are fully vaccinated is at 39.8%, with 49.9% who are partially vaccinated, according to Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero. He said the rate of vaccinations in these adolescents has stalled out, and he offered encouragement to increase those percentages. He added that he anticipates vaccinations to be available for the 5-11 age group in November. 

The governor shared protocol changes for public K-12 schools. The definition of a close contact has changed from 6 feet for 15 minutes to 3 feet for 15 minutes. Also, test-to-stay protocols now apply to extracurricular activities instead of only for the school day. He also offered a reminder that vaccination eliminates the need for quarantine and if both the case and the contact are masked, there is no need for quarantine.

Cabot School District Superintendent Dr. Tony Thurman said this change “is going to be a huge game changer” for the teachers, students and parents because of the decreases in quarantines. He and Secretary of Education Johnny Key reiterated the importance of sick children staying at home. Also, an increase in cases could mean a return back to the previous protocols. 

Key shared that only one school district this past week has reported modifications to on-sight instruction, and it was a kindergarten class in Rogers. Cases in schools is down to 1,080, which is another week-over-week decline. 

[Read previous daily local and statewide updates]            

(10/18/21)  HS/GC COVID Task Force:  Hopes are that history does not repeat in another COVID winter surge

COVID-19 statistics for the week of Oct. 10-17 in Garland County are strikingly similar to the same week a year ago. Dr. Gene Shelby, county health officer, told the Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force that he hopes the weeks and months that follow do not trend upward as they did in 2020.

Shelby’s COVID statistic report for last week had the total number of new positive cases at 113, or 16.1 per day, compared with the previous week’s 108, or 18.6 per day. The number of reported tests was slightly higher than the previous week’s total of 1,234, at 1,815; therefore, the positivity rate decreased slightly from 8.6% to 6.2%. The active cases remained relatively flat at 136, down only six from the previous week’s 142. Like the previous two weeks, there were again six COVID-related deaths reported in the county last week, bringing the cumulative total to 382.

“It is very interesting that our numbers are very similar to our numbers this week in 2020. At that time, we had 145 new positive cases, a positivity rate of 6.7% and 164 active cases. These numbers turned out to be the beginning of our winter spike, which didn’t peak until mid-January with 1,000 active cases and 116 new cases per day. Let’s hope that we have enough people vaccinated and taking this pandemic seriously so that history doesn’t repeat itself,” said Shelby.

The downward trend of hospitalizations in Hot Springs continued as representatives from CHI St. Vincent and National Park Medical Center reported a total of 10 COVID-positive patients and an additional 13 who are being treated, but were beyond the 20-day mark since their COVID diagnosis and were no longer in isolation. A spokesperson shared that numbers are going down, as there have not been as many admissions in recent days.

Cody Turner, pharmacist at Village Health Mart East Gate Pharmacy who is helping coordinate and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, said they administered around 1,000 COVID Pfizer booster shots and 1,000 flu vaccines last week at two mass clinics, during which no one had to wait in line. Another mass clinic is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 22, in Hot Springs Village, to also include the Moderna COVID booster shot if it is approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before then. To schedule a COVID or flu vaccine, or to schedule monoclonal antibody treatment, visit www.eastgatepharmacy.com. Both area hospitals and other area pharmacies, including Healthy Connections (https://healthy-connections.org/monoclonal), are also offering the monoclonal antibody treatment.

The number of COVID cases in the county’s public school systems rose from the previous week’s total of 25 to 30. Cutter Morning Star School District (CMSSD) reported one student case and two quarantines, but all were set to return to school on Tuesday, Oct. 19. CMSSD went from a mask mandate to a recommendation, but masks continue to be required on school buses. Fountain Lake School District (FLSD) reported one active student case and one student in quarantine. FLSD also removed their mask mandate last week. Hot Springs School District (HSSD) reported three active student cases and two active staff cases. Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Nehus said she will be recommending to the board at their meeting Tuesday night, Oct. 19, that the mask mandate continue for another month. Jessieville School District (JSD) reported 12 active student cases, 55 students in quarantine, three active staff cases and one additional staff in quarantine. Two of JSD’s active cases and 23 of those in quarantine were scheduled to return to school on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Lake Hamilton School District (LHSD) reported eight active student cases and 37 students in quarantine, with 24 of those being from youth league sports not affiliated with the school. The LHSD board updated their mask mandate at their Oct. 18 meeting, maintaining the face mask requirement indoors and on buses, but making them optional at optional events and outdoors. Lakeside School District (LSD) reported no active student cases and two active staff cases. LSD previously made masks optional at after-school events, and Superintendent Shawn Cook is hopeful that their district’s mask mandate will be able to be fully lifted at their Oct. 25 board meeting. Mountain Pine School District (MPSD) reported no active cases and one staff in quarantine. MPSD lifted their mask mandate last week.

National Park College reported one active student case and one student in quarantine, but both will be returning in the next few days.

Both the County and City have removed their mask mandates inside their respective buildings, aside from inside the County courtrooms. The use of face masks and social distancing continues to be strongly encouraged.

The Garland County Health Unit continues to administer flu vaccinations and Pfizer COVID booster vaccinations, as well as the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for ages 18 and older. No appointments are needed. The health unit also has available the state’s vaccination incentives – a $20 Arkansas Scholarship Lottery scratch-off ticket or an Arkansas Game and Fish license certificate – for anyone 18 and older who brings their COVID vaccination card to show their last shot was received after May 25.

The health unit tested 21 individuals for COVID last week. Those wanting a COVID test must park their vehicle in a parking space reserved by a numbered cone, stay inside their vehicle and call 501-624-3394 to inform the representatives which number is indicated on the cone. They continue to offer their full range of health services inside their facility. 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 – Friday, and from 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The United Way of the Ouachitas has 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.

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.

Arkansas Face Mask Guidance

Information on Quarantine

Arkansas COVID-19 Website

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ADH Call Center

1-800-803-7847

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

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)

COVID-19 Related Funeral Assistance

FEMA Funeral Assistance