The COVID-19 metrics for Hot Springs and Garland County continue to look good, according to County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby.
The Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force is meeting monthly and did not convene this week, but Shelby provided his weekly COVID-19 statistic update electronically to the group.
For the week of March 27 – April 3, the statistics from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) were all current as the department completed adding old reports on the previous week.
There were only 21 new cases added last week, or an average of three cases per day, down significantly from the previous week’s 21.3 daily average. With 422 recorded tests, the positivity rate dropped down to 5%. Shelby pointed out that both the weekly new case count statistic and positivity rate have not hit such low marks since May 2021. The number of active cases remained stable at 34, as of the morning of Monday, April 4, which was only up one from last week. There were two COVID-related deaths recorded, bringing the cumulative total to 505, but Shelby said these two were likely from weeks ago.
Shelby said that the BA.2 omicron sub-variant is assumed to be the main form of COVID circulating. “With it being so infectious, we have to be alert for an increasing number of cases, but we aren’t seeing that now,” he said.
The big news from the past week was that the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a second booster dose available for everyone over the age of 50 and for those who are immunocompromised. He noted that some public health officials are recommending it for those over the age of 65.