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'COVID-19 is not done with Garland County,' county health officer says amid three-week increase

The following is a news release by the Garland County COVID-19 Task Force today.


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Garland County’s number of active COVID-19 cases has risen for the third-straight week, nearly doubling in the past two weeks, according to County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby.


The Hot Springs/Garland County COVID-19 Task Force is only meeting as needed during the summer months, but Shelby provides his Monday COVID-19 statistic update electronically to the group on May 23.


For the week of May 15-22, there were 37 reported new cases, compared to the previous weeks’ 30 and 18. There were 567 reported tests, which resulted in a positivity rate of 6.5%, compared to previous weeks’ 4.8% and 3%. Active cases in the county increased by 21 to 70, as of Monday morning. “We have not seen this many active cases since the end of February,” Shelby said.


There was one COVID-related death reported, bringing the county’s cumulative death total to 511.


Shelby reiterated the fact that the COVID statistics, except for the reported deaths, “represent only a portion of actual cases in the county.”


“So this is a troubling trend. In some ways, not unlike what we had last May, and that led to the major surge we had in July and August,” Shelby said. “COVID-19 is not done with Garland County.”


The rise in cases in Garland County has not yet translated to increasing hospitalizations as representatives from CHI St. Vincent and National Park Medical Center reported Monday there are no hospitalized COVID-19 patients in either facility.