More than two dozen staff and students test positive for COVID-19 at Hot Springs recovery center

Around Arkansas

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A recovery center in Garland County is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19. More than two dozen staff and students at the Adult and Teen Challenge of Arkansas tested positive for the virus.

Students living at ATCA in Hot Springs battle addiction day after day but now they’re fighting something that doesn’t come in a bottle.

“We had a staff person notified on April the third that he was positive,” Executive Director Time Culbreth said.

That was troubling for Culbreth knowing that one case had likely already multiplied.

“I started looking at who he had been in contact with and then I saw the potential of what we were looking at,” Culbreth said.

He knew there wasn’t any time to waste. He needed to find out just how many cases he was dealing with.

“The health department the medical director wanted to test all of our students and as many staff as possible,” Culbreth said.

As he waited for the results, the Arkansas Department of Health helped him come up with a plan to prepare for the worst.

“It allowed us to get a jump and not let this unfold on a day to day basis,” Culbreth said.

Ultimately 12 staff and 15 students tested positive, including Culbreth.

“I’m quarantined myself because I’m one of the positive people,” Culbreth said.

Only a hand full are showing symptoms but the campus is on lockdown and everyone who tested positive isn’t allowed near anyone else.

“Our facility allowed us to have two separate hallways that are not connected,” Culbreth said.

It’s all uncharted territory as he tries to fight the virus himself.

“I haven’t been able to just stop and rest,” Culbreth said.

Through it all, Culbreth says he’s thankful because he knows this outbreak could’ve been much worse.

“We take one day at a time and I take every good report I get from campus,” Culbreth said.

ATCA is halfway through the mandatory two week quarantine. Culbreth said for the most part everyone has pretty mild cases and so far no one has been hospitalized.

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