JONESBORO — With Northeast Arkansas smacked with severe winter weather, officials say residents should still consider the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver recognized the double whammy during Tuesday’s council meeting.
“As COVID persists, even during ‘snow-vid,’ we can’t take our eye off the pandemic. Our medical leadership is working on a mass vaccination event that we hope we can announce soon,” Copenhaver said.
Prior to recent weather events, the city offered free COVID-19 testing at Joe Mack Campbell Park. The tests were administered by Natural State Labs and were going to be offered for “an undetermined number of weeks.”
“We know that COVID is still being spread in our area and must remain vigilant if we want to see a true end to this pandemic,” City Medical Director Dr. Shane Speights said earlier this month. “Testing is also the only way we can identify new COVID variants that might come into our state and we know that ultimately will occur.”
Heaps of snow and ice also caused the closure of local Arkansas Department of Health units, which also offer free testing.
Recognizing the decrease in newly reported coronavirus cases statewide, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that ADH’s directives regarding events were amended.
Events with 100 or fewer attendees will not require an approved plan by the department to be held, Hutchinson said. Previously, any event with 10 or more participants needed ADH approval.
Athletic tournaments are also permitted, but a plan must be submitted to the health department. The host school must enforce preventative rules, he said.
Northeast Arkansas COVID-19 cases by county through Wednesday morning:
Clay: 32 active cases, 1,578 recoveries, 45 deaths.
Craighead: 256 active cases, 12,198 recoveries, 174 deaths.
Crittenden: 135 active cases, 5,384 recoveries, 92 deaths.
Cross: 31 active cases, 1,800 recoveries, 47 deaths.
Greene: 111 active cases, 5,568 recoveries, 74 deaths.
Jackson: 23 active cases, 3,068 recoveries, 33 deaths.
Lawrence: 40 active cases, 1,905 recoveries, 41 deaths.
Mississippi: 128 active cases, 5,260 recoveries, 112 deaths.
Poinsett: 61 active cases, 2,914 recoveries, 75 deaths.
Randolph: 27 active cases, 1,834 recoveries, 49 deaths.
Sharp: 21 active cases, 1,438 recoveries, 50 deaths.