The Office of Emergency Management is following the upward trend of the positivity rate within Miller County and the surrounding metro area. While an exact number of new positive COVID-19 cases is unavailable, the medical community is advising more cases of COVID-19 patients are being seen. OEM works closely with area medical facilities, practitioners, state and local Emergency Management agencies to track the trends of the virus.
Medical facilities in our area have recorded inpatient care of COVID-related illnesses in the last seven days that closely match that of hospitalizations from March 2021. In February 2021, Miller County Emergency Management normally recorded 175 new positive COVID cases every ten days. By June 2021, those numbers dropped to about 5-10 every 15 days. Miller County OEM Director Joe Bennett said, “OEM is starting to record more and more cases of COVID-related illnesses, but those numbers are provided by area medical facilities which doesn’t account for every positive case in Miller County.” Bennett said, “The ADH suspended information on patient data to county emergency management officials in early June due to the low numbers, but that resource provided our office will valuable information needed to track positive cases as we use it for notifying first responders who are called to a location of a COVID patient. It also helps us track trends so we can prepare for vaccination clinics and provide information to our City and County leaders to make informed decisions in coordination with the medical community on how to proceed.
Bennett reported that 52% of new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas result from the Delta Variant and reports from medical practitioners in our area reveal the patients diagnosed with COVID have more severe symptoms, are more contagious, and are hospitalized more than the normal strain of COVID. The Delta Variant is here, and vaccination is your best weapon. Bennett also said, “The medical community has seen less than 10% of the COVID positivity rates were people who were previously vaccinated, so we know vaccinations work to lessen the chances infection, severe illness or even death.” OEM has firsthand knowledge of many people who refused the vaccination and are now hospitalized with COVID.
With that information, Bennett said Miller County OEM is again partnering with College Hill Drug to establish a COVID vaccination Clinic on Thursday, July 22 from 9am to 12 pm. Depending on the turnout, OEM may schedule future clinics. This clinic will be held at the Emergency Management Office, 409 Hazel St in Texarkana, AR. If you cannot make it to this upcoming clinic, you can still receive a vaccination at area pharmacies.
Bennett also encourages employers who have established policies regarding employee exposure, quarantine or testing to revisit those policies or directives to update. The below link gives insight to employers.
“We don’t know where this is trend is headed, but we need to prepare on the front end, not sit idle. We want to encourage everyone to be responsible for our community.” Bennett said.