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COVID-19 Update: January 5

COVID-19 Update: January 5

In recent weeks, we have seen the largest daily increase in COVID-19 numbers both nationally and statewide. As of today, Wednesday, January 5, there are 191 active COVID-19 cases in Baxter County. There are currently 19 COVID-19 patients admitted at Baxter Regional, with 6 in ICU and 2 on ventilators. There are 40 Baxter Regional employees with active COVID-19, at home and in isolation.

Additional statistics from Baxter Regional:
•    89.5% of 19 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized are not fully vaccinated.
•    87.6% of 611 COVID-19 patients hospitalized since March 1, 2021, were not fully vaccinated.
•    81.8% of 148 COVID-19 deaths since March 1, 2021, were not fully vaccinated.

According to data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 80% of active COVID-19 cases are the Omicron variant in Region 7 (which includes Missouri), and in Region 6, in which Arkansas is included, it is 98% of cases. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) reports that 92% of current COVID-19 cases in Arkansas are the Omicron variant. Click here for the latest information about this variant from CDC.

Since November, 2020, monoclonal antibodies have been used for the treatment of mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 for those at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. These monoclonal antibodies are allocated to the ADH and then to Arkansas hospitals. Currently 2 of the 3 monoclonal antibodies used have been found to be ineffective against the Omicron variant, and allocation has been halted to those areas where Omicron is predominant. Baxter Regional does have a small supply of the remaining monoclonal antibodies that have been proven effective against the Omicron variant, but it is very limited. ADH allocates it weekly, based on local case numbers. These monoclonal antibody treatments requires a physician’s order. Contact your primary care provider for more information and eligibility requirements.

Yesterday, CDC updated their recommendation for when many people can receive a booster shot, shortening the interval from 6 months to 5 months for people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. The booster interval recommendation for people who received the J&J vaccine (2 months) or the Moderna vaccine (6 months), has not changed. Additionally, consistent with the prior recommendation for adults, CDC is recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised children aged 5-11 receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot.

The Baxter Regional COVID-19 Resource Line continues to be available at (870) 508-7001 as an easy way to access all COVID-19 services using just one phone number. Anyone in the community may call to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test, vaccine or monoclonal antibodies infusion with provider's order, donate items for our staff, make a monetary donation to Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation or reach the COVID-19 Hotline.

The next meeting of the Baxter Regional Medical Center COVID Grief Support Group will be this Thursday, December 6, beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Mruk Family Education Center on Aging. Family members and friends who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 or COVID-19 patients who have endured a lifestyle change due to contracting the disease are encouraged to attend. Seating will be socially distanced seating, and masks are required.

During what seems to be our third surge of COVID-19 locally, we remind everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible and continue using precautions, remembering the basic 3 Ws: wash your hands, watch your distance and wear your mask.

For more information and regular local updates on COVID-19, visit