22 COVID-19 cases in Craighead County

Updated: Apr. 7, 2020 at 6:32 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas health officials are reporting that 22 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Craighead County, with 192 people testing negative.

The latest numbers can be found here.

With Jonesboro getting hit with an EF-3 tornado Saturday, March 28, Mayor Harold Perrin and Craighead County Judge Marvin Day are expecting the COVID-19 numbers to rise in the coming week.

The city of Jonesboro was under a curfew for over a week.

Perrin said he believes the majority of Jonesboro residents are working to practice social distancing and are washing their hands often. However, Perrin said he believes “we are only beginning to see the impact of this disease.”

“With that in mind, I praise those who are mindful of spreading it to family and friends. I am not pleased by occasional reports of those who are not, and I hope everyone heard today’s speech by Gov. Hutchinson,” Perrin said. “He has mandated no gathering of more than 10 people. Our police force will strictly enforce the governor’s order. And I remind people even when they meet in small groups to maintain that 6-foot distance.”

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said his officers are making the rounds to businesses to make sure they are in compliance with the governor’s order.

Perrin said any business that ignores the order risks losing their business license for five years.

The news release also said that St. Bernards Healthcare is moving their urgent care non-coronavirus related needs to the 333 Red Wolf Blvd. location.

Two area businesses, Nestle’ and Nice-Pak, have confirmed to Region 8 News that an employee has tested positive, or believed to be a positive case of COVID-19.

According to Michael Lyons, vice president of Nice-Pak, officials there are working on the issue.

"Nice-Pak Products, Inc., a leading producer of wet wipes and proud member of the Jonesboro, Arkansas community for more than a decade, was made aware on Friday of an unconfirmed case of COVID-19 from a warehouse employee. This warehouse is located 1.5 miles from our manufacturing facility. We are working with local health authorities to confirm and doing everything we can to support the employee and his family during this difficult time.

As soon as we were notified of the potential risk, we closed the facility to thoroughly clean and disinfect. We communicated the situation to our employees at both the warehouse and production facility. Our warehouse has since re-opened with enhanced safety and cleaning procedures in place.

Nice-Pak Products produces high demand essential cleaning products including Disinfecting Wipes, Hand Sanitizing Wipes, and Baby Wipes. These cleaning and hygiene products play a critical role in helping to keep the public clean and healthy, which is even more crucial during this time.

We are proud of and thank our dedicated employees who continue to work hard during this challenging period to supply consumers with the products they need to help care for and protect their families. We will continue to do all we can do to protect our employees while fulfilling our mission to help keep families healthy and well, one wipe at a time."

On Friday, a local Nestle’ employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a company spokesman.

On April 23, Nestle officials also commented on a report about other possible positive cases there.

Nestle officials also said they are working on the issue.

“We are working closely with local health authorities and have taken many steps to keep our people and facilities safe, and limit the risk of exposure to illness. Over the past several weeks we have increased cleaning and sanitation measures, instituted temperature and health screenings, enacted mask requirements, and reinforced social distancing protocols across our network of factories,” officials said.

Perrin also announced that the city’s parks will be open for trail use only, effective immediately. Also, other facilities including playgrounds, pavilions, and the remainder of the city’s 20 parks will be closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 issue. Perrin said officials will decide as to whether or not to close the parks entirely.

“If people don’t obey the governor’s mandate, we will have no choice but to close even the trails,” Perrin said in a statement.

“There is a high-circulating virus in those areas and there’s a good risk you will obtain that virus and bring it back to this area and affect others," Dr. Shane Speights said. "Though we do expect to see more cases here, again, we’re trying to limit that spike in the number of cases that occur at a given time.”

In addition, Dr. Speights said this is a critical time to ‘flatten the curve’ on the disease. He said if we do not, it could be detrimental to the community.

“If you can stay home as much as you can, that’s very important, in order, as he said to flatten the curve," Perrin said.

Since Craighead County Judge Marvin Day placed the county in a state of emergency necessary, saying this ensured fire and police departments received supplies needed. “We have to do that to be able to access state resources to get additional supplies, not only for our hospitals but also for our first responders,” he says.

So far the number of Arkansans testing positive continues to rise, including the number of deaths in the state.

He advised residents to monitor available information from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

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