The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the state and in Northeast Arkansas. Craighead County had 102 new reported cases Thursday (Nov. 19) the fifth most of any county in the state, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
Arkansas had more than 2,200 new cases reported. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Thursday that all businesses that serve alcohol must shutter by 11 p.m. each day and further steps to contain the virus could be announced on Friday.
“In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus as a result of prolonged social interaction in group settings, I am accepting the recommendation of the Winter COVID Task Force to require bars, restaurants, and clubs that sell alcohol for consumption in their establishment to close at 11 p.m.,” Gov. Hutchinson said in a statement. “This is a balanced approach that is limited and targeted as we work to reduce new COVID cases in our state.”
The situation in Northeast Arkansas continues to be bleak as the number of cases has rapidly accelerated since Halloween along with the number of deaths.
Craighead County has had 6,319 confirmed cases since the pandemic began along with at least 70 reported deaths. Greene County, the area’s second most populous county, has had 2,401 cases and 26 deaths.
Mississippi County has had 2,934 cases with 79 deaths. Crittenden County has had 3,011 cases with 55 deaths. Poinsett County has had 1,552 cases with 38 deaths, while Lawrence County has topped 1,054 cases with 27 deaths.
The new numbers come on a day when it was reported that Arkansas only has 68 ICU beds open out of the 1,124 that are in the state, ADH reported. Where those beds remain open was not released. More than 305 doctors statewide endorsed a letter to Hutchinson asking for a mask mandate, a shutdown of most businesses, and other measures to stop the spread of the virus.