COVID-19 found in Sharp County; Crittenden County among most impacted in state

by George Jared ([email protected]) 3,930 views 

The number of COVID-19 confirmed cases continues to grow across Northeast Arkansas, and a new county has been added to the rolls of impacted areas.

Sharp County had its first confirmed case, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said Thursday (April 2) that the number of cases in Craighead County continues to grow, and as the outbreak progresses people are going to have to learn to live differently until the virus is contained.

“I want everyone to stay focused on the dangers at hand … we’re learning as we go,” Perrin said. “We must adapt.”

Craighead County has at least 12 confirmed cases, while Crittenden County has 32 cases, the seventh highest total of any county in the state. The only Northeast Arkansas counties without a reported case are Jackson, Clay and Mississippi. But, officials warn that it’s likely that every county has been impacted at this point.

Arkansas has 12 confirmed deaths and 643 cases of COVID-19, according to ADH as of Thursday evening (April 2). In Walnut Ridge, a local nursing home confirmed through social media that a person there tested positive for the disease, but details about that person were not released. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday he doesn’t have plans to issue a mandatory stay at home order for the state.

Jonesboro residents and city officials have also been dealing with another problem, the aftermath of the EF-3 tornado that ripped through the city’s commercial district on Saturday. Jonesboro Police Department Chief Rick Elliott said that the 12-hour shifts officers had been working to accommodate extra patrols in damaged areas of the city have been relaxed.

The Mall at Turtle Creek, heavily damaged by the twister, is now being guarded by private officers and the city is no longer operating a command center on the property. Looting has not been a problem and many citizens have aided police as the cleanup of devastated areas has progressed.

A 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew remains in effect until further notice, Elliott said. The curfew has helped tamp down any attempts at looting and has helped the city deal with the COVID-19 crisis. To date, there have been no significant issues relating to the curfew, as most people who do not work during those hours have abided by the rules, he added.