County’s active virus case count soars

Glenn Parrish
gparrish@boonevilledemocrat.com

The number of active cases of coronaviru COVID-19 in Logan County went from 24 to 128 in the nine days from Aug. 1 to Aug. 9.

The number of cumulative cases began climbing dramatically on Aug. 2 when there were 17 new cases. That was followed by 37 new cases on Aug. 3.

With the exception of just one new case on Tuesday of last week the rest of the week new case counts were between eight and 19 each day.

An outbreak at the Booneville Human Development Center is apparently largely responsible for the increases.

BHDC had its first case of the virus confirmed on June 24. Since then there have been 39 recoveries, and there were 66 active cases between staff and clients on Thursday.

The number was reportedly 106 on Tuesday of this week.

The first case of COVID-19 entered the facility through a staff member and spread through the staff and clients.

As of Thursday of last week there were still 85 clients under investigation meaning they are in the process of being tested and getting their results.

According to Arkansas Department of Health Deputy Chief of Communications Marci Manley, officials have been taking measures to protect the clients such as “no in-person visitation, working with infection disease officials at UAMS and ADH, employee screenings, increased focus on hand-washing and masks, and encouraging staff to be extra careful outside of work as well.”

The Booneville HDC currently serves 122 clients with intellectual disabilities ranging from age 20 to 74.

“We are being as diligent as we can be to protect our clients and our staff,” Manley said last week. “At Booneville, each client has their own room, and we have isolated clients who are positive from other clients. Staff are wearing full PPE (gloves, masks, gowns, face shields) when working with those individuals who have tested positive.

“We continue to work closely with the Arkansas Department of Health. Each HDC has infection control plans, and infection control specialists who offer assistance. Clients whose medical conditions allow for masks are wearing masks in addition to staff members.”