March 30: 508 cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas; First death in NEA

The Arkansas Department of Health continues to release numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas. To see the source numbers and map including county-by-county breakdown, click here.

The first death in Northeast Arkansas was reported today in Greene County.

Additionally, a significant number of new tests have been processed as of Monday evening. This includes several new positive test results in Craighead County.

9:00 PM

Arkansas Total: 508 confirmed cases; 7 deaths

  • As of 7:00 AM, there had been 3,536 total tested for COVID-19 in Arkansas. 3,087 of those were negative tests. 449 were positive.
  • As of 9:00 PM, there had been 6,028 total tested for COVID-19 in Arkansas. 5,520 of those were negative tests. 508 were positive.

NEA County Breakdown

Clay County: 0 positive cases, 24 negative
Craighead County: 8 positive cases, 21 negative
Randolph County: 1-4 positive cases, 84 negative
Lawrence County: 1-4 positive cases, 15 negative
Greene County: 1-4 positive cases, 49 negative
Mississippi County: 0 positive cases, 15 negative
Poinsett County: 5 positive cases, 15 negative
Cross County: 1-4 positive cases, 13 negative
Crittenden County: 17 positive cases, 30 negative
Sharp County: 0 positive cases, 8 negative
Cleburne County: 58 positive cases, 58 negative

United States Total: 163,807 cases; 3,008 deaths; 5,846 recoveries

Global Total: 784,716 cases, 37,639 deaths; 165,370 recovered

Statement from St. Bernards over Delayed COVID-19 Test Results

JONESBORO (March 30, 2020) –“The health of our patients, families and team members guides every decision we make at St. Bernards. Early this year, we recognized COVID-19’s pandemic qualities and began immediate preparations for the virus to reach our region.

“We started screening patients and administering COVID-19 tests as soon as the virus entered Arkansas and our bordering states. We even dedicated one of our Urgent Care clinics completely to COVID-19 testing.

“Unfortunately, our laboratory options to complete the process were limited at the time, especially with the Arkansas Department of Health’s lab inundated with statewide samples. Per the Department’s urging, we began using commercial labs, engaging with a national lab, Quest Diagnostics, based in Secaucus, N.J.

“Because of Quest’s backlog of COVID-19 samples, the lab failed to provide timely results on nearly all the samples we sent. Consequently, our patients, their families and our team members did not receive results in the timeframe we expect, and we ceased sending samples to Quest.

“St. Bernards noticed the delay quickly, coordinating with three additional commercial labs for expedient and accurate testing. Since the other labs opened to us, our process improved greatly, receiving results in as few as 24 hours. In addition, we have coordinated with our patients tested through Quest for further information.

“We appreciate the community’s understanding and support, and we share frustrations that Quest Diagnostics has not met expectations. St. Bernards anticipates this process will streamline even further going forward, standing ready to assist any person needing COVID-19 screening as well as potential testing and medical attention.”

1:30 PM update from Governor Asa Hutchinson

  • Governor announced approval of $45 million in additional funds to go toward purchase of personal protective equipment
  • Governor signed an executive order setting up a 15 member committee in order to guide and shape recommendations on the use of federal money as it comes in

Jonesboro updates on tornado, COVID-19

Here’s the latest update on the dual emergencies taking place in Jonesboro at the moment:

Streets Department crews are working fast to remove tornado debris from ditches around the city in anticipation of afternoon rains. Streets Supervisor Steve Tippitt said his department is aware of a forecast of 2 to 3 inches of rain. “If we don’t get the ditches cleaned enough, we very likely will see some flooding,” Tippitt said.

Mayor Harold Perrin also asked those performing cleanup work to follow the guidelines of where to take debris: If it is tree limbs or other vegetative debris, take it to the sandpit on Strawfloor Road. If it household debris or other non-perishables, take it to Legacy Landfill on Arkansas 1 South.

“Streets crews have been working since Saturday evening to clear streets and ditches,” Perrin said. “They are some of the unsung heroes of this challenge, and I applaud them for the work they are doing.”

Another city-wide curfew has been ordered for 9 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Tuesday, Perrin said, to protect property and allow first responders unabated access to city streets.

Three traffic signals continue to be out of service for an extended period: Brazos Street and Highland Avenue, Clinton School Road and Johnson Avenue, and Caraway Road and Race Street. Lights at 15 intersections were initially disabled by the tornado, City Engineer Craig Light said, but these three were significantly damaged.

Professional cleanup crews can have licenses fast-tracked by going to the City Collections Department at the Municipal Center, 300 S. Church St. Residents should ask to view a contractor’s privilege license before hiring anyone to do work at their home or business, Police Chief Rick Elliott said.

JET buses continue to run on schedule but a couple routes have been affected by the storm: stops at Turtle Creek Mall and at Cain and Highland are not available until further notice.

Perrin and City medical director Dr. Shane Speights, Dean of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, stressed the importance of using practices of social distancing even while working to recover from the tornado.

“These are unprecedented times,” Speights said. “We still have a lot of time to stay resilient to flatten the curve of coronavirus in our city.”

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