Number of COVID-19 cases in Sharp, St. Francis counties explode

by George Jared ([email protected]) 2,358 views 

New cases of COVID-19 have erupted in Northeast Arkansas. There are a reported 36 cases in Sharp County and many are tied to a nursing home in Ash Flat, according to Talk Business & Politics content partner KAIT. There are two reported deaths in the county, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

The name of the facility and the number of cases tied to it have not been released. Identifying information about the victims has not been made public. Sharp County is the latest county in the region to experience virus growth.

St. Francis County, with 310 confirmed cases, now has the most infections among all counties in the region. There have been no reported deaths in that county.

Crittenden County is second with 216 and seven reported deaths. Craighead County has had 113 cases with no deaths, and Lawrence County has had 71 cases with four deaths. Other counties in the region have had significantly lower case totals, but officials warn that could be due to a lack of testing.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Thursday (May 14) that additional testing sites will be erected in Jonesboro and West Memphis.

Mayor Harold Perrin said that drive-thru testing will begin Friday (May 15) for anyone who meets CDC and Arkansas Department Health criteria, a list that includes first responders, health care workers and anyone in the general public in high risk groups or symptoms of the coronavirus.

Testing will take place 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at the Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot at 1911 W. Parker Road.

To be tested at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, an appointment must be scheduled through eTrueNorth at DoINeedaCOVID19test.com. At the website, a person will be asked to answer questions to ensure they meet eligibility criteria. Those without internet access or who have trouble with the website can call 800-635-8611.

“This is an important addition to our testing capabilities,” Perrin said. “We have not had accurate numbers, and even our hospital leaders have been wanting more testing.

“My concern is getting our city to some semblance of normalcy, and that requires accurate information. I think more testing will provide everyone in Jonesboro more confidence about what they should and should not do as they continue to take precautions to reduce their risks.”

While testing is no cost to patients, those with insurance coverage will need to provide that information. Those who do not have coverage will need to note that.

After confirming an appointment time, those to be tested will need to bring confirmation of the appointment to the testing site, photo ID or proof of identity, wear a mask and stay in their cars. The test involves a nasal swab, which will be self-performed. Bring someone with you if cannot perform the test yourself.

The test site will be set up away from the store’s entrance so as not to interfere with shoppers.

Testing also continues to be provided by ARcare, at all four of its sites in Craighead County. Patients should call 870-347-3461 and schedule an appointment. Results come in within 24 to 48 hours, ArCare COO Chris Gibson said. No deductible is charged.

ARcare has facilities on North Church, Fox Meadow Lane and Washington Ave. Saturday clinics are available.

Starting Monday, people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms will be able to schedule an appointment at the Arkansas Department Health office at 611 E. Washington. Call 870-933-4585. Like the Wal-Mart location, tests at ADH will be self-administered from the patients’ cars, weather permitting, said Amy Howell of ADH.

Primary care physicians and hospitals also continue providing tests. For free online screening from St. Bernards, go to stbernards.info/coronavirus. NEA Baptist providers are scheduling tests for established patients through drive-thru testing.

Those without a primary care provider can be seen at the NEA Baptist Windover COVID Clinic location by calling 870-936-7140. NEA Baptist is also seeing patients via video through its MyChart app.

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