Mayor Perrin doesn’t expect future shutdowns; Craighead Co. remains top 5 in infection rate

by George Jared ([email protected]) 618 views 

Craighead County remains in the top five of all counties in the state in terms of new COVID-19 cases and the death toll from the virus continues to tick upward. Northeast Arkansas’ largest county had 96 new reported cases on Tuesday (Dec. 15), according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

At least 106 county residents have died as a result of the disease and there are an estimated 948 active cases. There have been at least 8,556 reported cases in the county since the pandemic began in March.

Regional death tolls continue to rise and the disease is still spreading at a record pace, but Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin told Talk Business & Politics he doesn’t think another shutdown or partial shutdown is imminent. Perrin has had conversations with state officials and many think the economic damage caused by further shutdowns could doom the state’s economy.

“No, I don’t think so,” the retiring mayor said. “Hours of operation for some businesses might be cut, but no, I don’t think we’ll have another shutdown.”

Perrin decided not to seek a fourth term after he discovered he is battling cancer. The mayor said his prognosis is good and his treatments have been effective. He noted that while the pandemic has raged much of the year, the city is still on pace to set an all-time sales tax collection record, a leading indicator of economic health.

The economy in Northeast Arkansas may be weathering the pandemic, but many throughout the region are suffering from health problems even as the vaccine is starting to be distributed.

Crittenden County, once the epicenter for outbreak in the region, has had 64 confirmed deaths with 3,752 cases. Another hot spot, Mississippi County, has had 89 deaths along with 3,864 confirmed cases.

Poinsett County has had 51 deaths to go along with about 2,000 reported cases. Randolph County has had 37 deaths and 1,223 confirmed cases. The region’s second most populous county, Greene, has had 3,843 cases with 45 reported deaths.

Health officials have noted throughout the pandemic that a majority of deaths from the virus have come in nursing homes and many victims of the diseases have been 65 years of age or older.