Two local nursing homes are reporting cases of COVID-19 among workers, and one has also reported multiple cases among residents.
There were 92 new cases of COVID identified in Union County from Sunday, August 15 to Saturday, and a local resident has died from the virus. Active cases peaked the week on Saturday at 169.
Statewide, more than 14,000 cases have been identified and 178 Arkansans died from the virus last week. There were more than 25,000 active COVID cases in the state on Saturday.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, an Advanced Health and Rehabilitation of Union County worker actively had COVID-19 as of August 16. The worker tested positive for the virus on August 10, according to an ADH report.
In total, including through 2020, 44 workers at Advanced Health and Rehab have contracted COVID-19, as well as 44 residents, seven of whom have died from the virus. The last time a resident of the home tested positive for COVID was February 2.
However, at the Hudson Memorial Nursing Home, three residents had active cases of COVID-19 on August 16, with the most recent positive test result coming back on August 9. A Hudson worker also had an active case of the virus, with their test having tested positive on August 12.
Hudson experienced a severe outbreak of COVID during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020, and a total of 70 residents there contracted the virus, 21 of whom died from their infections, and 57 workers caught it.
Statewide, 190 nursing home residents contracted COVID-19 in the two weeks leading up to August 16.
According to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, as of August 1, Advanced Health and Rehab had vaccinated 100% of its residents. Courtyard Healthcare and Rehabilitation had 94% of its residents vaccinated and Hudson had an 88% vaccination rate among residents.
Intensive care capacity
As a regular Union County Quorum Court meeting wrapped up on Thursday, Sheriff Ricky Roberts rose to deliver the sad news: County jailer Dominique Noble had passed away.
“We have just learned that one of our jailers has died. He was rushed to hospital last Saturday in a diabetic coma. Without intensive care beds here, they transferred him to Fayetteville,” he said. said Roberts. “We ask you to pray for his family.”
As of Friday, there were 19 intensive care beds available across Arkansas, according to the ADH. There were 1,783 open regular hospital beds and 517 ventilators available.
Lori DeWese, director of marketing for the Medical Center of South Arkansas, said there were 10 COVID patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit on Saturday morning. She said there were times when no intensive care bed was available there.
âSometimes this week all of our intensive care beds were in use. As the hospital continuously unloads and admits throughout the day, our patient numbers and bed availability are fluid and represent a unique snapshot in time, âDeWese said. “When we don’t have availability for additional patients in intensive care, patients who need a higher level of care are stabilized and transferred to another hospital.”
Monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 is available in the hospital for some people who have contracted the virus, she said. According to the CDC, monoclonal antibody therapy helps a person’s immune system recognize and respond to the virus more effectively.
Arkansas guidelines for qualifying for monoclonal antibody treatment include being at high risk for symptoms of COVID progressing to severe levels; not be vaccinated or be immunocompromised; and be at high risk of exposing someone to the virus.
âHigh riskâ for symptoms of COVID progressing to severity is defined with these criteria: being 65 years of age or older; having a body mass index of 35 or more, or having a BMI in the 85th percentile or more for people 12 to 17 years old; to be pregnant; have diabetes or another immunosuppressive disease; have cardiovascular disease; have chronic lung disease; have sickle cell anemia; have neurodivergent disease; or having a technological dependence related to medicine, such as the use of oxygen.
âPeople who test positive for COVID-19 should talk to their doctor about whether monoclonal antibody therapy is available for them,â DeWese said.
Six hundred doses of the COVID vaccine were administered in Union County last week, and as of Saturday, about 40% of the county’s population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said this week that vaccination was the state’s best chance to tackle the current outbreak of COVID-19.
“These statistics that we are seeing – both the increase in the number of cases as well as the statistics that vaccination is your best way to avoid hospitalization or serious consequences -â¦ we continue to focus on vaccinations. “, said the governor.
Booster vaccines are currently available in Arkansas for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, and Secretary of State for Health Dr. Jose Romero has encouraged those who are eligible to take advantage of the boosters.
“I encourage them to get their booster doses; they can get them at any pharmacy or local health unit or with their primary care providers or sub-specialists, if they have any,” said Romero.
The UAMS Mobile Health Unit will make its second stop in a week in El Dorado on Wednesday August 25, for a vaccination clinic which is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2299 Champagnolle Road, headquarters of the SHARE Foundation. The clinic is organized in partnership with the SHARE Foundation and Interfaith Clinic.
Three COVID-19 vaccines developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been approved for use in the United States. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in people as young as 12 years old, while the latter two are approved for use in anyone over 18 years of age.
On Wednesday, the clinic will offer the vaccination to anyone 12 years of age or older. Vaccines are free for everyone and no one needs health insurance to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
To register for the immunization clinic scheduled for Wednesday, call 501-526-2211. for more information, contact [emailÂ protected]
In Union County, COVID vaccines are also available by appointment, at Melvin’s Discount Pharmacy, Walmart, Walgreens and the local Union County Health Department. To schedule a vaccination appointment with Melvin, call 870-863-4155; for Walmart, visit walmart.com/COVID; for Walgreens, visit walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid/19/landing and for the local health unit, call 1-800-985-6030.
Walmart also announced this week that the 2021 flu vaccine is available now. According to a press release from the company, certified pharmacists and healthcare professionals administer both influenza and COVID vaccines in stores across the country, including in El Dorado.
To learn more about flu shots and wellness resources available at the local Walmart, visit www.walmart.com/wellnesshub.
COVID testing is also available in Union County at SAMA, at 600 S. Timberlane in El Dorado; South Arkansas Medical Center at 700 W. Grove in El Dorado; Walgreens at 701 W. Grove and 2135 N. West Ave in El Dorado; Union County Local Health Unit at 301 American Rd. in Eldorado; and the Strong Clinic at 253 S. Concord in Strong.