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.


(10/27/20) 952 new statewide cases; hospitalizations continue to rise

The following statistics were shared at the governor’s weekly COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Oct. 27, and posted on the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) website:

  • 107,679 total cases, up 952 from Monday.
  • 100,061 total confirmed cases, up 651 from Monday. 
  • 7,618 total probable cases, up 301 from Monday.
  • 9,490 total active cases, down 81 from Monday.
  • 90,559 recoveries, up 829 from Monday.
  • 1,857 total deaths, up 20 from Monday.
  • 676 cases requiring hospitalization, up 27 from Monday.
  • 94 cases requiring a ventilator, down eight from Monday. 
  • 2,457 cumulative cases in Garland County, up nine from Monday.
  • 225 active cases in Garland County, down 16 from Monday.
  • 2,166 recoveries in Garland County, up 23 from Monday.
  • 66 deaths in Garland County, up two from Monday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of positive PCR tests added in Arkansas was 651, with 629 from the community and 22 from correctional facilities. There were 301 positive antigen results from a total of 1,795 antigen tests in the past 24 hours. The number of PCR tests completed in the past 24 hours was 7,000. 

There were 14 counties with more than 20 new cases in the past 24 hours, and they included Pulaski with 146, Benton with 77, Washington with 72 and Craighead with 66.

Growth rate charts of new cases in Arkansas between Oct. 18-24 show that by public health region, the Northeast again had the highest percentage of new cases at 7.7%, followed by the Central at 5.7%, Southwest at 5.4%, Northwest at 4.5% and the Southeast at 4.3%. New cases by age group during that same period show that the 65-and-older group has the highest percentage at 7.9%, followed by the 45-64 group at 5.7%, the 25-44 group at 4.9%, the 0-17 group at 4.8% and the 18-24 group at 4.0%. 

Hutchinson began his weekly COVID-19 press conference, which again was held virtually, by responding to those who Hutchinson said are thinking, “We are losing the battle with this virus and we just have to live with it.” He said, “While this is a tough time, and we know we’re going to go through a tough time in the winter, we have to be prepared to fight, and I am prepared to fight. And that’s what we’ve got to do every day.” He also said that testing in the state is at record levels, there are improved treatments and have more engagement from Arkansans in terms of following the public health guidelines. 

That being said, he noted that the state, like the nation, is in a third wave “and we’ve got to work very hard to come down from that wave safely and to get the trend line down.” While showing the charts, he showed that this past week was highest week in confirmed cases the state has had. Hospitalizations are mirroring that increase in cases, and in talking to hospitals, he said they still have capacity for patients and they are working together. He said what they hope to continue are the elective procedures because these procedures are important for the economic health of hospitals, as well as patients and populations. He highlighted the importance for continued efforts to get cases down to get the hospitalizations down so the procedures will not be affected. The positivity rate has also edged up over the past week, Hutchinson said, which they are watching closely.

Testing continues to exceed the goals set for October with the current count of PCR tests at 258,820 and antigen tests at 34,446. 

Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said that of today’s 20 reported deaths, 16 of them were from nursing homes. With the largest growth rate of new cases coming from the 65-and-older population, who are at higher risk for complications with the disease and with death, Romero explained this is contributing to the increase in hospitalizations. 

Romero said this week they had a visit from Operation Warp Speed representatives, who are in charge of development, testing and logistics of providing the vaccine to the states when they are approved by the FDA and CDC. 

Regarding the upcoming holiday season, Romero asked Arkansans to seriously consider whether it is appropriate to bring their families together at this time, particularly among the older populations. He said the increasing number of cases and the spread among the older age groups should weigh into these decisions.

Before introducing Secretary of Education Johnny Key, Hutchinson said the number of active cases in K-12 went down over the past week and that cases in higher education have decreased over the past two weeks, which “indicates that we can control behavior, we can make a difference and mitigate against the risk.”

Key reported that last week there were 11 schools that made modifications to their on-site instruction, which is the lowest number since school began. There are currently 17 total active modifications, as well as a total of 169 previous modifications that are now inactive.  

Regarding the rapid testing pilot for K-12 schools, Key said that of the 14 schools across the state that were identified for the pilot program, so far eight have opted in, five are still considering and one has declined. The Arkansas Department of Health is working to get the test kits shipped to the sites, at which point training will begin before the screening program starts next Monday. A second round in the pilot will include 20 schools, and they are hoping to contact the selected schools by the end of the week.

 [Read previous statewide updates]

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(10/26/20)  Garland County’s active cases reach all-time high

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Garland County has risen to its highest number since the start of the pandemic at 247, according to Garland County Health Office Dr. Gene Shelby at the Oct. 26 virtual meeting of the Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force.

“I want to reiterate that we are in the middle of a pandemic, and it’s not getting better. We need to double down with what we are doing – face masks, social distancing, staying away from crowds – and if you’re in an situation where people are not wearing masks, say something or leave,” said Shelby. “It’s on the community to take care of the community. We are in the midst of a battle right now.”

One action the task force is asking of all area citizens is to answer incoming phone calls, even if from an unknown or out-of-state phone number. Shelby referenced a recent story by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about the state’s contact tracing efforts and the challenge of individuals not answering their phones when attempts are made by the contact tracing professionals.

Shelby also shared updated COVID-19 statistics for Garland County. For the week of Oct. 18 – 25, there were 195 new cases reported with an average of 27.9 new cases per day, up from the previous weeks’ 145 new cases and 20.7 daily average. The total test count was 2,422, up from 2,176, and again included routine weekly testing taking place in long-term care facilities. The positivity rate for the week was up from 6.7% to 8.1%. The new active case count at the time of the meeting was 83 higher than at the same time the previous week.   

Contributing to the increases in new and active cases are three area nursing homes that have multiple cases within their facilities. Shelby said these nursing home outbreaks also appear to be adding to the number of healthcare workers who are currently infected. Of the active and probable cases in the database for Garland County, 47 are currently healthcare workers.

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

The 65-and-older age group is currently up from 65 to 99 cases, or 42.9% of the county’s total. Cases among those with Spanish surnames has remained steady with nine current cases, or 3% of the county’s total case count. The 0-17 group went down again this week to 8.2% of the county’s total.

School district representatives affirmed the lowering case counts among youth with low active and quarantine numbers among their student populations, as well as teachers/staff.

Despite record high statewide numbers for COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized, CHI St. Vincent and National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs report their coronavirus patient counts have remained consistent over the past few weeks.

The Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Call Center at 501-760-4307 continues to get callers asking about rapid response antigen test availability.

The Garland County Health Unit continues to have antigen test supplies, but they are reserved for students, teachers and school staff who are exhibiting symptoms. The clinic collected 86 COVID-19 specimen last week, and they administered 915 flu vaccinations to students at the Mountain Pine and Lake Hamilton school districts. Poll workers will be given priority PCR testing, as needed. 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. It is recommended to call ahead to schedule COVID-19 testing at 501-624-3394.

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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