The COVID-19 pandemic is in the midst of a third wave in Northeast Arkansas, and the area’s most populous county, Craighead County is now the epicenter. The Arkansas Department of Health reported on Sunday (Oct. 25) that 60 new cases were confirmed in the county, the most in the state.
Craighead County has had 4,432 confirmed cases with 40 deaths, the ADH reported. In addition to surges in new cases, school districts throughout Northeast Arkansas have been identified as in the “red zone” for new cases, according to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.
Lawrence County, Marked Tree, Mammoth Spring, Sloan-Hendrix and the Hoxie school districts all had at least 1% of their district’s population newly infected with the virus during the last week, ACHI reported. Jonesboro, Valley View, and Pocahontas were among other school districts that have entered the red zone as of this week.
Some districts have gone to partial or full virtual learning to stem the spread. ACHI CEO Dr. Joe Thompson, the state’s former surgeon general, has implored Arkansans to wear masks and socially distance to fight the spread of the virus.
“This virus is an invisible and serious threat and it continues to spread across our state,” he said on social media. “Infections in our communities threaten our schools. This is the time to wash your hands and stay 6-feet apart.”
The number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths in the region continue to balloon as the virus continues to infect. Mississippi County has recorded 2,225 cases and a region leading 68 deaths. Crittenden County has had at least 2,349 cases with 51 deaths.
Independence County has reported 46 deaths along with 1,451 cases. Randolph County has 639 confirmed cases with 24 deaths. Poinsett County has reported 1,031 cases with 18 deaths. St. Francis County has reported 1,704 cases with 10 deaths.
State health officials have noted that most of the deaths in the state have been connected to nursing homes.