There are at least four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Craighead County, but Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin thinks the number of cases could be higher and is frustrated by the lack of testing. Randolph County has also reported its first case, meaning Jackson, Mississippi, Clay, and Sharp counties in Northeast Arkansas are the only counties without a confirmed case to date.
Statewide there were 335 confirmed cases as of Thursday (March 26) afternoon.
“Official reports of our COVID-19 case numbers have not changed this week, I take little comfort in those statistics. While our hospitals have been testing patients, Arkansas and many other states have lacked the capability to actually run the tests,” Perrin said. It is my understanding that more laboratories are starting to be able to run the tests, and as they do, it’s logical that they will find more positive cases. So I am proud of our majority of responsible residents who are practicing social distancing and washing their hands often. Still, I am confident we are only beginning to see the impact of this disease.”
While many businesses and individuals have drastically changed to accommodate the recommendations of health and public officials, there have still been several reported incidents in the city that violate those protocols, Perrin added.
“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 Gov. Hutchinson. He has mandated no gatherings 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.”
Scammers have tried to prey upon residents as the crisis has unfolded, and Perrin said he is dismayed by the lack of conscience some people have.
“I am highly displeased to learn of reports of fake tests being offered by opportunists who lack a moral compass, taking advantage of innocent and often fearful residents of Jonesboro. JPD is coming after these people, and I will not tolerate their activity in our city. If someone offers you a test, please call the police department,” he said.
There have been reports that some parents have been allowing their children to congregate with others in groups larger that 10. Perrin said the situation could turn dire for some residents in the city and this is not acceptable behavior.
“Finally, I want to stress that this is not spring break. Please reinforce that to your children. This is a time to show how resilient and vigilant Jonesboro can be,” he said.