Updated 8:19 PM
Total Cases in Arkansas: 232
Numbers released Tuesday by the Arkansas Department of Health, found here, show there are now 232 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas. Two people have died. Ten have recovered
- As of 8 AM, 1,153 had been tested for COVID-19 in Arkansas. 947 had tested negative for the virus.
- As of 12:26 PM, 1,165 had been tested in Arkansas. 947 had tested negative for the virus, meaning all of the new test results added were positive.
- As of 4:45 PM, 1,228 had been tested in Arkansas. 998 had tested negative for the virus.
- As of 8 PM, 1,230 total tests had been performed in Arkansas, with 998 negative tests
The most recent numbers from Johns Hopkins University show Craighead County has four confirmed cases.
The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed to NEA Report that two people in Arkansas have died from the disease. One of those deaths was in Cleburne County, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Stimulus deal is close, say leaders
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly negotiated late into the evening until a compromise was close to being reached. Mnuchin told reports that he believed a deal would be reached today. Schumer agreed saying a vote could be held tonight. Read more here.
Summer Olympics in Japan postponed
The 2020 Summer Olympics were announced postponed for a year by the Japanese prime minister on Tuesday. Read more here.
Early voting begins today in Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston wants to remind voters that Early Voting for the Tuesday, March 31st General Primary Runoff Election begins today.
Early voting will be available during your County Clerk’s normal business hours, March 24-March 30. Polls will be closed Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, March 29th.
Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued Executive Order 20-08, which suspends three provisions of law, concerning elections, for the upcoming General Primary Election due to the ongoing Covid-19 emergency. The first suspends the law regarding emergency polling site changes. Counties will be permitted to consolidate to as few as one polling site for in-person voting on Election Day. This decision may be made up to three days prior to the election, so long as a notice is posted at polling sites that would have otherwise been used, absent the emergency. The second suspends the law requiring qualified electors who wish to vote absentee to be unavoidably absent or unable to attend an election due to illness or physical disability. All qualified electors currently entitled to vote in the General Primary Runoff Election will be permitted to request an absentee ballot from their county of residence. The third suspends the provision of law which requires absentee ballot applications sent by mail, fax, or email to arrive by March 24th. Absentee voters submitting their application by mail, fax, or email in the seven days prior to Election Day will receive an absentee ballot.
Please note that the deadline to return voted absentee ballots by mail will still remain 7:30 pm on March 31st. Voters can download an absentee ballot application from the Secretary of State website at: https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/uploads/elections/Absentee_Ballot_Application.pdf.
Per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Arkansas Department of Health, voters should continue to observe appropriate social distancing measures when going to vote, and maintain a six-foot distance from others, if possible. County officials and poll workers are receiving guidance on additional measures to ensure the safety of everyone.
To check your voter registration information and get information on your local polling location, contact your county clerk.
Second St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital employee confirmed to have the virus
A second St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital employee has been confirmed to have the novel coronavirus. The employee works in patient care. After developing symptoms, they followed procedure and were not at the hospital for 12 days. Results came back positive over the weekend for COVID-19. Read more from WMC Action News Five.
India going into lockdown for 21 days
India’s prime minister announced Tuesday morning that the country of 1.3 billion would go into lock down for three weeks.
“If we don’t handle these 21 days well, then our country, your family will go backwards by 21 years,” he said.
State of Arkansas press conference will be at 1:30 PM today
Tuesday, March 24 update from NEA Report
White House task force briefing
Perrin: Please take social distancing seriously
Mayor Harold Perrin praised Jonesboro residents who are actively and responsibly practicing social distancing, and encouraged everyone to find the resilience needed for the weeks to come as the novel coronavirus is growing as health and local government officials anticipated.
Four positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Craighead County as of Monday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
“As COVID-19 has been confirmed and expanding in our community, we are taking important next steps at the City of Jonesboro,” Perrin said. “So far, we see most of our residents doing a fantastic job of social distancing, which is encouraging.
“But we’re also seeing people who are not behaving responsibly, and it creates tension for the rest of us. It is absolutely critical that everyone take this seriously, and that means no hugs and no handshakes.”
Gov. Asa Hutchison added hair and nail salons, including barbershops, to the list of mandatory closed businesses on Monday. Bars, gyms, and dine-in service at restaurants were closed last week. Only the governor can directly close a business, but Jonesboro Police Department will aid state agencies in enforcing these closures.
JPD Chief Rick Elliott said officers are now making rounds to these businesses for compliance of the Governor’s order.
Perrin said businesses that ignore this order risk loss of their business licenses for five years, and he stressed that residents who do not practice social distancing risk more than their own health. Last week the governor mandated no gatherings of more than 10 people.
“Let’s be clear: You could lead to serious consequences for a loved one,” Perrin said. “I would hate for someone to have to live with that guilt.”
A business page – providing resources and guidelines for small businesses, as well as employees who work or were laid off – has been added to the COVID19 webpage at Jonesboro.org. The Arkansas Department of Health’s website, healthy.arkansas.gov, offers programs and services for residents, businesses, health care, education and many other specific groups in the service community.
St. Bernards Healthcare has created numerous strategies to adapt to the coronavirus outbreak, including moving all urgent care needs – non-coronavirus related – to the Red Wolf Boulevard location at 333 Red Wolf Blvd. It has created a COVID-19 self-assessment at stbernards.info/coronavirus.
JPD’s Elliott warned residents of scammers using your cellphones and computers to take advantage of the situation to make an illegal profit.
“It’s disgusting, but there are bad actors out there who will try to make money off of this,” Elliott said. “Be very wary of people trying to access your personal information, and don’t believe anyone who seeks you out offering a coronavirus test.”
City Attorney Carol Duncan said her office is still serving the public. “Any citizen needing to file an Affidavit for criminal charges may still get those from the Craighead County District Court, or online on the City of Jonesboro webpage, and return them to the Jonesboro Police Department Warrants Division at 410 West Washington,” she said.
“Please make sure you leave a working phone number and an email address, where available, so that you can be contacted about your affidavit if we need further information. If you have the ability to email an affidavit, it should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are returning an affidavit by email, there is no need to have your signature verified by the court or a notary public. If your affidavit is approved for criminal charges, we will make arrangements to notarize your signature.”
This story will be updated throughout the day on Tuesday, March 24. Check back/refresh for the latest updates.