There continues to be improvement in all metrics concerning the amount of Covid-19 infections in Garland County, according to Dr. Gene Shelby, county health officer, in his weekly report shared with the Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force on Oct. 25, 2021.
Shelby explained that the number of new positive cases came in at 64 for the week of Oct. 17-24, or just 9.1 per day, compared to 113 cases/16.1 per day the previous week. Last week’s new case statistics also compare well with the same week last year when there were 195 new cases at the beginning of the 2020 winter spike. There were only 1,060 tests reported last week, so the positivity rate was 6%, in line with the previous week’s 6.2%. The county continues to see a decline in active cases with 121 on Sunday, down 15 from the previous week’s 136. This is also much better than the same week last year when active cases were at 247.
Recorded deaths rose by four, for a cumulative total of 386. As a reminder of how deadly this disease is, Garland County only had 63 recorded deaths on this day a year ago, said Shelby.
Unfortunately, the county’s vaccination rate continues to lag. Only 47% of the those 12 and above in Garland County are fully vaccinated, compared to 67% of this population nationwide.
“In summary, we are not seeing signs of the winter spike we had last year, and continue to see some decline of our active cases. But we must continue to promote vaccination, as we hope and pray that the 47% of our friends and neighbors who have stepped forward to protect themselves, and us, is enough,” said Shelby.
The Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force has transitioned to a bi-weekly meeting schedule, with the next virtual meeting to be on Nov. 1.