Medical Director warns community to not ‘let your guard down’ concerning COVID-19

Avoiding the spread of COVID-19 locally

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The amount of positive COVID-19 cases has almost doubled in Craighead County in the amount of weeks and one city official says we will continue you to see this uptick throughout the summer and fall.

Dr. Shane Speights is the Medical Director for the City of Jonesboro and The Dean of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. He says while the community and state did a great job responding early to the coronavirus as many are now disregarding guidelines.

”I’ll just be blunt with you, I don’t see a lot of people wearing masks out in Jonesboro, out in Craighead County," Speights said. “There’s just not a lot of acceptance or adoption to wearing masks. I think that’s a mistake and I think we will continue to see increased cases because of that.”

He says a big misconception is “they don’t look sick, so they aren’t sick.”

However, Speights says the facts are 40 percent of people who have the virus, do not show signs.

“They look fine, they feel fine and so you think ‘okay, it’s probably okay to hang out with them or maybe I am more than six feet or it’s okay to not wear a mask here’ and that’s not true," Speights said.

He says scenarios like these where you automatically trust that your good friend or neighbor does not have the virus is exactly how this virus is spread.

It’s being passed from person to person and now more cases are popping up in the region like multiple cases from Paragould singled out in the governor’s daily press conference.

“Part of it is the testing we are doing but part of it is the fact people are congregating more than they were even just a few weeks ago," Speights said.

And while there is still a lot that’s unknown about this virus, Dr. Speights shared some troubling information.

“For every positive case, we still believe there are five to 10 people out there we haven’t picked up on yet," Speights said.

He says the reality of it all is that we have not reached our peak and we will continue to see these upticks throughout the year.

“The virus is not going away. It’s being passed from person to person and just because you let your guard down and just because you think I’ll hang out with a few of my neighbors just for a little bit, that’s enough time for the virus to spread," Speights said.

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