Following his annual report to the Fort Smith Board of Directors in June, Fire Chief Phil Christensen used his data to create a map of active COVID-19 cases in Fort Smith.
The information Christensen showed the board was a comparison of positive cases in May to positive cases in June. At-large Director Kevin Settle asked for a heat map to be produced so that residents could see what level of cases are in their area.
According to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), Fort Smith was the third highest with 348 active cases as of July 27. At the same time, Little Rock had 495 active cases.
As of Friday, there were 275 active cases in the city limits. Christensen pointed out that the state counts the number with Fort Smith addresses that are in the county whereas the Fire Department looks at each address and compares it to the map of the city to determine if it is within the city limits or in the county.
In order to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Christensen has created a "heat map" that shows the general area and density of active cases while protecting the privacy of the individual patients.
The map confirms what other studies have shown where the higher density areas have more active cases.
Following the uptick in several minority communities in Northwest Arkansas, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a report stating why minorities are unwilling to go to the Emergency Room with heart attack or stroke symptoms.
According to AHA, minorities are dying at a disproportional rate due to the higher chance of having underlying health conditions.
While there have been a higher number of COVID-19 in the more populated area of the Northside of Fort Smith, Christensen stated that there was no significant correlation between ethnicity and number of cases in Fort Smith.
Sebastian County has consistently been in the top counties for new COVID-19 cases, but there have been more recoveries than new cases three out of four days this week.
*Due to a technical issue we are awaiting a link for the active case map from the fire department