Delta variant washes over Northeast Arkansas

by George Jared ([email protected]) 4,134 views 

COVID-19 and its new variant, Delta, continued to rage across the Natural State during the weekend and now Arkansas leads the country in per capita new cases, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The state had more than 2,000 confirmed cases Saturday (July 24) the most in one day since April. The death toll from the deadly virus climbed by 23 to 6,077, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Northeast Arkansas is not immune to this wave of new cases, and the region had several deaths in recent days.

Craighead County has had 14,821 cases since the pandemic began and 649 were active as of Monday (July 26). One new death in the county was reported by ADH bringing the total number of deaths to 188 in the region’s largest county.

Crittenden County, the region’s original hot spot, had its case total balloon to 6,341 since the start of March 2020, and it currently has 96 active cases. The county’s death toll also rose by one to 98.

Greene County has had 6,647 total cases with 224 active as of Monday. There have been 80 reported deaths in the county. Mississippi County has reported 6,065 confirmed cases with 103 still listed as active. At least 111 people have died in the county from the disease.

Many civic leaders have been pleading with residents to get vaccinated to curb the latest wave of the virus. Gov. Asa Hutchinson visited the region several times in recent weeks to spur vaccination efforts, but the effort has not slowed the virus’ growth.

As the new variant continues to spread, steps are being taken by government entities and private businesses to protect the public. A recent city council meeting in Jonesboro required attendees to wear a mask, and the NYIT, the medical school on the Arkansas State University campus, is going back to virtual instruction and is requiring masks for those who have to be on campus.

Businesses in downtown Jonesboro now require masks. West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon has implored residents to mask in public.

Arkansas State University’s Delta Center for Economic Development, the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, and the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District planned to offer a COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Workshop in North Little Rock on Thursday, but it was announced Monday that it has been postponed indefinitely due to the rise in cases.