The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the state of Arkansas and Northeast Arkansas has not been spared. In an attempt to stymie the spread, new Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver said he will continue protocols that were set into place months ago by retired Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin.
Copenhaver is maintaining the order that meetings of the city council will remain virtual in the coming weeks, and city departments will rotate staff who can work from home to prevent spread within departments.
“We will not neglect or delay the work of the city, but it is important that we continue to proceed with caution,” said Copenhaver.
Copenhaver has said he intends to work from the office at the Municipal Center, but departmental staff will continue to rotate work from home to maintain physical distancing policies.
“We will be doing the work of the city, but I am responsible for helping ensure the safety of city employees, as well. Because the coronavirus maintains high levels of contagion in Jonesboro, this is the best practice to serve the public while maintaining safety among city employees.”
Death and infection rates continue to rise across the region.
There have been 143 deaths in Craighead County and there are 884 active cases in the county as of Thursday (Jan. 7) afternoon, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. The second most populous county in the region, Greene, has recorded 55 deaths with 365 active cases.
Mississippi County has reported 97 deaths with 282 active cases. Crittenden County, the original epicenter of the region’s outbreak, has recorded 77 deaths, with 286 active cases.
Poinsett County reported 64 deaths with 208 active cases. Randolph County has recorded 43 cases with 169 active cases.
Many of the deaths in the region have been tied to or associated with nursing homes.