JONESBORO — Eight counties in Northeast Arkansas account for just over 10 percent of the state’s population, but they account for almost 20 percent of the active coronavirus cases in Arkansas.
The trend continued Tuesday, as Craighead County recorded 66 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and two more deaths. Greene County had 27 new cases and one death. Poinsett had 24 new confirmed cases and one death.
And area health care providers issued a joint statement Tuesday, begging residents to help minimize the virus’s impact.
“We strongly urge everyone in Northeast Arkansas to remain vigilant in their efforts to limit the spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing hands and staying socially distant,” the statement said. “Additionally, it’s imperative that you avoid large gatherings. A major surge of new COVID-19 cases could have a devastating effect on our communities. COVID is now the third-leading cause of death in our country, and it has sickened thousands of others, some of whom continue to suffer from long-lasting complications.”
Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould, Baptist Memorial Hospital – Crittenden of West Memphis, Great River Medical Center & South Mississippi County Medical Center in Blytheville/Osceola, Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Walnut Ridge, NEA Baptist Health System of Jonesboro, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, Piggott Community Hospital, St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro, St. Bernards Five Rivers of Pocahontas and St. Bernards CrossRidge of Wynne joined in the statement.
Dr. Shane Speights, dean at NYIT’s Jonesboro campus, said more than 168 patients were hospitalized in the eight counties represented by the health care institutions.
“That is an additional 168 patients admitted to the hospitals in our region with a condition that we didn’t have compared to this time last year which certainly increases the workload on each hospital,” Speights said. “Our numbers in Northeast Arkansas are higher compared to the 120 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospitals in central Arkansas.”
The patients vary in age and demographics, he said.
As of Tuesday, 50 COVID-19 patients were being treated in NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, spokesman Ty Jones said. Twelve were in the intensive care unit and three were on ventilators.
Mitchell Nail, media relations manager for St. Bernards said his hospital doesn’t release specific numbers.
The Arkansas Department of Health reported Monday that two manufacturing employers in the region had multiple active cases. Though the state didn’t identify the companies, it said one employer in Pocahontas had seven active cases, bringing the total to 74 infections since the pandemic reached Arkansas in March. A Paragould manufacturer had six active cases, for a cumulative total of 21.
Northeast Arkansas COVID-19 cases by county through Tuesday:
Craighead – 4,266 confirmed (up 66 from Monday), 245 probable (up 9), 553 active cases (up 15); 41 confirmed deaths, 4 probable.
Greene – 1,378 confirmed (up 27), 129 probable (up 15); 258 active (up 14); 18 confirmed deaths,
Lawrence – 730 confirmed (up 49), 93 probable (up 6); 99 active (down 39); 17 confirmed deaths.
Poinsett – 998 confirmed (up 24), 73 probable (up 8); 173 active (up 12); 18 confirmed deaths, 1 probable.
Mississippi – 2,189 confirmed (up 25), 108 probable (up 5); 296 active cases (up 10); 55 confirmed deaths, 13 probable.
Jackson – 575 confirmed (up 7), 185 probable (up 3); 189 active cases (unchanged); 5 confirmed deaths, 1 probable.
Randolph – 514 confirmed (up 4), 136 probable (up 6); 75 active cases (up 9); 19 confirmed deaths, 5 probable.
Cross – 534 confirmed (up 4), 53 probable (up 4); 53 active cases (up 4); 20 confirmed deaths, 2 probable.
Clay – 450 confirmed (up 4), 40 probable (up 4); 68 active cases (unchanged); 10 confirmed deaths, 2 probable.