COVID-19 has reached virtually every county in Northeast Arkansas and the mayor of one city in the region is asking as many people as possible to shelter in place. Clay County has a confirmed case of the disease as of Tuesday (April 7), according to the Arkansas Department of Health. With that confirmation, the only county without a confirmed case is Jackson County.
Crittenden County has 58 confirmed cases, the fourth most in the state. West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon has issued a “safer at home” emergency decree and starting Tuesday night a curfew will go into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Only those people performing essential tasks or going to work will be allowed to be in public during that time period. Public parks in the city have been closed. A task force to enforce the curfew and social distancing protocols has been formed, while violators face fines.
McClendon’s response came as the number of cases in nearby Shelby County in Tenn., has exploded.
“I want to make sure we are doing our part,” the mayor said.
Arkansas remains the only state in the South without a shelter in place order. Gov. Asa Hutchinson repeated on Tuesday that the measures taken by the state have been sufficient to this point in containing the disease. To date, there have been 948 cases in Arkansas with 18 deaths.
Craighead County now has 22 confirmed cases, while St. Francis has 27. Poinsett County has six cases and Cross County has five. The rest of the counties in Northeast Arkansas have at least one confirmed case, but no more than four.