Garland County sees spike in COVID-19 cases, officials pushing for vaccinations


GARLAND CO, Ark. – Garland County is seeing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases, going from 60 to more than 300, in just a few weeks.

About 70% of those cases are the Delta variant which health officials say is not only more contagious but more dangerous.

It’s a busy time in the spa city, but as tourists flock to Central Avenue COVID-19 is tearing through the county.

Shelby said in the last few weeks, their cases have skyrocketed.

“Delta variant is here,” Garland County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby said, “We’ve gone from 60 active cases to 320 active cases.”

In turn, more people are filling the area hospitals.

Dr. Shelby said, on average, someone with the flu will pass it to one other person. With the original strain of COVID-19, someone could pass it to two or three people.

Dr. Shelby said the Delta variant is so contagious one person typically passes it to eight people.

“Within the next couple weeks, we’ll probably be at 90% of our cases will be the Delta variant,” Dr. Shelby said.

This is causing concern for when school starts up again in the fall.

“I think a lot of the public expects a normal school year. I just don’t see that happening,” Dr. Shelby said.

Mountain Pine School District decided to cancel their third summer session. They posted on Facebook and said they want to take this time to deep clean and regroup before all students hit the hallways.

“If people aren’t vaccinated schools are going to be a great place to spread it.”

Dr. Shelby said that’s the way to get past the spike in cases, for everyone to roll up their sleeve and get the shot.

“It’s the only way that we’re going to end this pandemic is to get more people vaccinated.”

The Garland County Health Unit is going out to community events to get people vaccinated. They partnered with the Mid-America Science Museum and go there every three weeks. Their next push will be this Saturday during the Spa City Classic pickleball tournament. They will offer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for anyone 18 and older.            

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