After a rise in Garland County’s COVID-19 metrics the week before last, County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby is hopeful the numbers for the week of Sept. 4 – 11 are what will be a leveling off.
In his weekly update to the Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force on Sept. 12, Shelby reported 148 new cases reported last week, compared to the previous weeks’ 184 and 132. As of Monday morning, there were 302 active cases reported, compared to previous weeks’ 278 and 232.
There were two additional COVID-19-related deaths reported last week, so the county’s cumulative death total increased to 527.
The Garland County Health Unit has received the Pfizer Bivalent Booster COVID-19 vaccine and began administering doses today, Tuesday, Sept. 13. This updated COVID-19 booster provides protection against the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants. These newer subvariants are more contagious and able to evade protection that your body might have against earlier subvariants. These boosters are for ages 12 and older, to be administered after completion of a monovalent primary series – Moderna, Novavax or Pfizer-BionTech. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/interim-considerations-us.html.
The health unit also continues to offer the primary vaccination series of Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer on a walk-in basis and at no charge. 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.
“We continue to have people in our hospitals with Covid-19. Many have received their initial vaccinations, but very few have had a booster,” said Shelby. “Going into the fall and winter, we definitely need to do all we can to get boosters to as many people as possible.”
The Hot Springs/Garland County Covid-19 Task Force is only meeting as needed, but Shelby provides his weekly Covid-19 update electronically to the group.