At the April 19 meeting of the Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force, Garland County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby commended the area’s vaccination efforts and offered encouragement for the public to continue to get inoculated.
“I want to applaud all of the people who have worked on the vaccination distribution in Garland County. You’ve saved lives, and it really has made a huge difference,” said Shelby. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of continuing to push forward with the vaccination program.”
As a part of his weekly COVID statistic report for April 11-18, Shelby shared that among those in the county with active cases or who are under investigation, there are only two who are in the 65-and-older age category – the group with the highest percentage of those who have been vaccinated. He said there has been a jump in those 18 years and under, from just one last week to seven at the time of the meeting.
There were 16 new cases reported last week, compared to the previous week’s 21 cases. The rate of positivity dropped from 2.2% to 1.6%, which is the lowest it has been since last June. The number of active cases at the time of the meeting was 22, down from 32 at the same time the previous week. There was one COVID-related death reported last week.
Public demand for vaccines has dropped more, according to Cody Turner, pharmacist at Village Health Mart East Gate Pharmacy who is helping coordinate and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. He said the county has ample vaccine doses, but only two individuals had registered for the Tuesday clinic at the time of the Monday morning meeting.
The twice-weekly COVID-19 vaccination clinics are every Tuesday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Chapel on Tuesdays, as of this week, and in the Ouachita Professional Building (Fordyce Room) on Saturdays, at 1900 Malvern Avenue. To schedule an appointment, visit https://www.eastgatepharmacy.com/covid-19-vaccine-scheduler.
CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs is offering COVID vaccinations five days a week at three Hot Springs clinic locations. Patients can visit www.chistvincent.com/getmyshot or call 501-622-6556 to begin the scheduling process.
Other vaccination locations include the following:
School districts across the county are continuing to coordinate with Turner and the East Gate Pharmacy to host vaccination clinics for interested parents and high school students age 16 and older.
For additional vaccination information, visit www.cityhs.net/vaccine.
At the time of the meeting, CHI St. Vincent reported having one COVID patient and National Park Medical Center had none.
Only one school district represented in the meeting reported having one current COVID case. All other represented districts reported having zero cases at the time of the meeting.
Those wishing to be tested at the Garland County Health Unit are advised to 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. The local health units do not currently have the COVID vaccine available, but are still providing the 2020 flu vaccination on a walk-in basis to those who would like to receive it. The Arkansas Department of Health is providing vaccine pop-up clinics across the state. For more information and to schedule an appointment at such a clinic, call 1-800-985-6030. The health unit is located at 1425 Malvern Avenue and is open, weather permitting, 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 continues to have an application for COVID-19 assistance for area families and individuals affected by the pandemic 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.