Known Sebastian County COVID-19 cases rise almost 28% in three days

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 2,850 views 

Another 33 positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in Sebastian County Friday (June 26), making a three day jump of 99, which is 27.7% of known cases in the county since March 11.

Sebastian County ends the week with 357 known cases, with 188 active cases and two deaths. There have been 167 recoveries in the county. Crawford County has 131 known cases with 64 active cases and no deaths.

There are 19 COVID patients in Fort Smith hospitals as of Friday, down from 25 on Wednesday, and nine of those patients are on ventilators, said Rep. Dr. Lee Johnson, R-Greenwood. Johnson is also the medical director for Fort Smith EMS and Southwest EMS and a practicing emergency room physician.

There were 669 new community cases reported in Arkansas on Friday, a new record.

Mercy Fort Smith and Baptist Health-Fort Smith are doing well from a capacity standpoint, Johnson said.

According to Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith, 82% of the new cases in Sebastian County are Fort Smith residents, and the average age of those patients is 31.There are few household clusters making up those numbers, but nothing indicates a cluster related to an activity or business, Smith said.

“(We) are definitely seeing more cases, but I think we all expected that to happen at some point,” Johnson said, noting there are no new instructions for keeping the spread of the virus under control.

Area residents are asked to continue diligence regarding social distancing, masks, hand washing and avoiding physical contact.

“(It) especially important for older/high risk people to limit exposure,” Johnson said.

Fort Smith Mayor George McGill said his message to area residents remains the same: Be a good neighbor, follow state-recommended protocols; and do everything possible to stop the spread of the virus.

“We do not know much about this virus. We do not know what it is doing to our bodies and what the impact will be five to 10 years from now. So we must do the things we know to minimize the spread,” McGill said.

He noted that Arkansas is still under a COVID-19 public health and disaster emergency.

“We certainly do not want restrictions to get stricter. We have avoided quarantine or a stay at home order or curfews. We want to continue to avoid those,” McGill said. “Hopefully there will be a vaccine in the near future that will allow us to return to life as normal. For now, wear a mask, social distance, practice excellent hygiene. Each of us must do what we can as citizens to not spread this virus to someone else.”