The spread of COVID-19 in Greene County has greatly accelerated in the last two months.

According to information made available by Lana Williams, chief nursing officer for Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, active cases in the county have increased since November from about 300 to 430 as of Monday.

“We expect to see this number increase over the next 4-6 weeks,” she said. “The full effect of spread from the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday gatherings has not yet occurred. We will likely see the numbers continue to increase over the next few weeks.”

The Arkansas Department of Health reported 2,467 new COVID-19 cases in the state on Wednesday.

The total number of active cases in the state was 25,095, with 1,362 people hospitalized with the virus.

The number of deaths added Wednesday was 65 for a total of 4,186 statewide.

In Greene County as of Wednesday there were 4,923 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases that had been reported since the pandemic began. There are currently 375 active cases in Greene County. A total of 59 people in Greene County have died as a result of COVID-19.

There is potential good news as far as medication in concerned. According to AMMC pharmacist Sarah Newberry, the hospital now offers the outpatient COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment, Bamlanivimab.

According the website of maker Eli Lilly, it contains man-made antibodies that are similar to the antibodies of patients who recovered from COVID-19. Scientists think that these antibodies may help limit the amount of virus in your body. This could give your body more time to learn how to make its own antibodies. Bamlanivimab does not have any COVID-19 virus in it.

According to a Bamlanivimab fact sheet at the website for the FDA, the drug has received emergency use authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of active COVID-19 infections in non-hospitalized patients who meet specific high-risk criteria. It is authorized for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients 12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

“If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19,” Newberry said, “you can speak with your healthcare provider to see if you qualify.”

Bamlanivimab, she concluded, is a new drug and there is still much to learn about the benefits, risks, and side effects.

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