Hempstead County Health Officer Gives Update

By Staff, 04/14/20 9:52 PM

Hempstead County’s Health Officer, Dr. Dale Goins said the COVID-19 cases are increasing state-wide but the increase has not been as fast as predicted. He said the number of hospital beds required for virus patients has been pretty steady over the past couple of weeks and terms the growth in new cases as not dramatic but gradual. Hempstead County has shown four or five confirmed cases this week and he said the growth in Hempstead County has been slow. Dr. Goins says he’s pleased to see the growth in new cases locally has been slow. “I don’t think we’ll see a dramatic increase but a gradual increase…as we’ll be able to test more and more people. As far as the death toll, that is gradually increasing but not at a dramatic rate like it is in some other states like Louisiana,” said Dr. Goins.
Social distancing, washing your hand hands, and self-isolation continue to be the best tools to reduce the spread says Dr. Goins. He says, “People are sick, they stay home…I think people have gotten that message and that’s one reason we’re not seeing it spread as fast”. He continued, “Arkansas has a lot of natural social distancing. People who are farmers, they’re not around a lot of people. People who have jobs they can’t work from home, they don’t get around the people that are infected as much”. Dr. Goins says it’s a big burder for restaurants to be closed but that could be an area where the virus could be spread if one infected person coughs. “As difficult as it makes it, this is a good method to reduce the spread,” says Dr. Goins.
Dr. Goins says if you have any kind of cough you should wear a mask and he notes the CDC has recommended everyone wear masks. He said if two people together with a mask, that cuts the chances for it getting from one person to the next person dramatically. He said he does help, it’s not an abolute prevention but it helps reduce the spread. Another suggestion is to not spend as much time in conversation, talk more from a distance and make your conversation briefer and that reduces exposure.
Dr. Goins says the Arkansas Department of Health does not release information the identity of any confirmed patients. Also the health department doesn’t release the course of treatment for these patients. He said if they have a positive diagnosis, the health department does follow up to make sure the patient socially isolates themselves.
He notes, “eventually it will pass and we’ll be getting back towards our lives…there may be change in the long run. If you look back through history, our country has gone through periodic times of war and pandemics and we’ve always recovered. I expect we’ll get through this.”