March 17: No new confirmed cases in Arkansas but more being monitored; More headlines

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas did not rise with Tuesday morning’s update from the Arkansas Department of Health. 22 confirmed cases, the same as the day before, were reported.

However, the number of Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for the virus is up to 41 in Arkansas, with another 310 being monitored by the ADH because of an identified risk.

There were only 14 PUIs on Monday.

Current as of 3/17

ADH has activated a call center to answer questions from health care providers and the public about the novel coronavirus. During normal business hours (8:00am – 4:30pm), urgent and non-urgent calls, please call 1-800-803-7847 or email After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response, please call 501-661-2136.

Explaining the Difference in COVID-19 and the Flu – With Math

The CDC estimates 31 million people have caught the flu this season. At least 8,200 Americans have died from the flu this season, according to the CDC.

If we adjusted the flu’s mortality rate to be closer to COVID-19’s (about 2 percent in America), we would be looking at a death toll over 600,000. That’s 200,000 more Americans than died in World War 2.

That’s why the world is shutting down. It isn’t because the media. It’s because of the math, the science, and the medical experts trying to save a lot of lives.

With that said, no estimates suggest that we are going to reach those kinds of numbers of cases and we present that to you only to use as a counter argument to those comparing COVID-19 to the flu. There is NO comparison.

Headlines from the Past 24 Hours

  • The White House warned all Americans to avoid restaurants and bars and not to gather in groups of more than 10
  • In Washington, lawmakers are working on a new fiscal stimulus package that could help workers and companies weather the storm — even as a previous package that the House passed last week still waits for Senate approval. Other businesses besides airlines are pushing for loans or direct government grants to fill the void of lost sales. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said Monday he wants to give monthly checks to low-income and middle-class Americans so they can afford necessities during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Beginning today, Dollar General is strongly encouraging their first hour of operations be dedicated to senior shoppers. Additionally, all stores will close an hour earlier in order for employees to clean, restock shelves as well as for their health and well-being.
  • In California, San Francisco will legally prohibit residents from leaving their homes except to meet basic needs including visiting the doctor, or buying groceries or medicine, until at least April 7, Mayor London Breed announced Monday.
  • A Midnight to 5 AM curfew was announced for Little Rock beginning Wednesday.
  • Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were released from the hospital following coronavirus diagnosis and are now in self-quarantine at their home in Australia.
  • The City of Jonesboro stressed this is not a snow day or a vacation day and that people should practice social distancing. Don’t go to parties or large gatherings. Go fishing. Watch movies. Read books.
    “During this crisis, I implore you to rethink these practices and let caution be your guide for the near future until this virus is under control,” Mayor Harold Perrin said. “While this is a critical time in our history, this is an event that we endure gracefully. We have always pulled the rope together during emergencies and difficult times, and this is simply another one.”
  • The White House expressed support during a press conference Tuesday morning for making immediate cash payments to all Americans as part of a stimulus to help with this emergency

JPD asking for reports to be filed online (in non emergencies)

2 PM

Craighead Sheriff working to lower jail population for non-serious crimes

Additional steps are being taken at the Craighead County Detention Center, the sheriff told NEA Report Tuesday afternoon.

“We have not released anyone yet but we are looking at reducing population on non-violent misdemeanors that are here on old fines and things like that,” said Sheriff Marty Boyd. “Our medical staff have identified high risks subjects that fall in the category that can contract the virus. We will be taking precautionary steps as needed. We are operating on a day to day basis with the updates and information we receive.”

ASU Campus Events Postponed or Canceled are Listed

JONESBORO – A number of events scheduled for March and April on the Arkansas State University campus have been postponed or canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic facing the nation.  New dates for postponed events will be announced as soon as possible.

Calendar changes since the last update issued include:

  • Student Athlete Career Fair, March 18, canceled
  • Women in STEM Trivia Night, March 19, canceled
  • Opera Production, March 19-20, canceled
  • Arkansas International Pageant, March 21-22, canceled
  • Grant Writing and Administration class, March 26, postponed
  • NEA Rabbit Breeders Association, March 27, canceled
  • Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble Concert, March 30, canceled
  • Arkansas Dept. of Transportation regional meeting, March 31, canceled
  • Trombone Choir concert, March 31, canceled
  • Mom’s Day activities, April 4, canceled
  • Bill and Alice Nix Petting Zoo, April 4, canceled
  • Kays Foundation meet and greet, April 14, canceled
  • Earth Day activities, April 17, canceled
  • Play@State matinee, April 17, canceled
  • Theatre Guild reception, April 17, canceled
  • Theatre production of The Tempest, April 17-24, canceled
  • College of Engineering and Computer Science open house, April 18, canceled
  • Create@State, April 20-22, face-to-face sessions canceled

Previously announced canceled and postponed events, original date, and status are listed in chronological sequence:

  • Spring sports competitions, canceled
  • Wind Ensemble Concert, March 17, canceled
  • FFA Career Development Events, March 18, postponed
  • Retirement Reception for Carol Barnhill, March 18, postponed
  • Spring football game, March 19, canceled
  • Faculty recital by Dr. Bruce Faske, March 19, postponed
  • Transfer Preview Day, March 20, canceled
  • Lauren Daigle Concert, March 21, postponed to Aug. 13 (see ticket info on FNB Arena website)
  • KASU Bluegrass Monday, March 23, canceled
  • Women’s Business Leadership Conference, April 2, Postponed
  • Arkansas College Media Association Conference, April 3, canceled
  • Spring Social Work Conference, April 3, canceled
  • ABI DNA Day Celebration, April 3, canceled
  • Concert by Cory Jackson and Marybeth Byrd, April 4, postponed
  • Mom’s Day activities, April 4, canceled
  • College of Engineering and Computer Science honors banquet, April 6, canceled
  • College of Agriculture honors banquet, April 7, canceled
  • Concert Choir concert, April 7, postponed to April 21
  • Department of Media honors banquet, April 8, canceled
  • Delta Symposium: The Haunted South, April 8-11, canceled
  • Arkansas Roots Music Festival, April 11, canceled
  • College of Education and Behavioral Science honors banquet, April 13, canceled
  • Neil Griffin College of Business honors banquet, April 13, canceled
  • College of Liberal Arts and Communication, April 14, canceled
  • Department of Communications honors banquet, April 15, canceled
  • Earth Day, April 17, canceled
  • Create@State, April 20-22, canceled
  • Phi Kappa Phi honors banquet, April 20, canceled
  • Resilience, documentary film, April 20, postponed
  • Wind Ensemble Concert, April 22, canceled
  • College of Sciences and Mathematics honors banquet, April 23, canceled
  • Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, April 25, postponed
  • College of Nursing and Health Professions honors banquet, April 27, canceled
  • Undergraduate Studies, honors banquet, April 30, canceled

2:30 PM

Elections to proceed with additional safety measures

Despite efforts by Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday in a letter to persuade the governor to call the General Assembly to postpone elections, as of today, no changes have been made. Early voting for the runoff election is set to run March 24th-30th, each week day from 8am – 5pm with no voting on Saturday or Sunday. Early voting will begin at the County Clerks office located at 511 S. Main St. in Jonesboro and at the Annex to the Courthouse (Old Hair Loft Building) in Lake City. Election Day will take place on March 31st from 7:30am – 7:30pm at all polls.

Everyone in State Representative District 53 is eligible to cast an absentee ballot, said Holliday. Complete this form and return it to the clerk’s office. Completed applications are accepted by fax (870-933-4514), email ( or US Mail to 511 S. Main, St 202, Jonesboro AR 72401

New York City considering city-wide curfew

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday to prepare for a potential citywide shelter-in-place order. No state or city mandate has been issued at this time but the mayor said “we are deeply concerned about the direction and trajectory” of COVID-19. He said to expect a decision in the next 48 hours. As of his press conference, 814 confirmed cases in New York City with seven deaths were reported.

4:30 PM

Malco Theaters closing

This story will be updated with headlines related to the coronavirus outbreak all day on March 17, 2020. Check back/refresh for updates

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