JONESBORO — Wes Eddington noticed a spike in his temperature last week.
The Craighead County tax collector then tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“I don’t know where I got it,” Eddington told The Sun Monday. “You know, I’m around people all the time. I have no actual idea of where I got it or what happened. I have no idea.”
One month from the property tax deadline, Eddington will be out of the office at least for the next two weeks.
Eddington said his eight deputy collectors tested negative for the virus on Friday. They returned to work on Monday.
Because Eddington had not been in the office at all last week and had no contact with the deputy collections, County Judge Marvin Day said the Arkansas Department of Health cleared Eddington’s staff to return to work.
“He was outside of the window that they believed it could have been spread,” Day said.
At age 61, and with chronic medical issues, Eddington is among the population most vulnerable to contracting the disease.
“When I spiked my temperature, I felt terrible,” Eddington said. He said he’s fighting the disease at home.
He said the county is aggressively working to keep the workplace safe, with thorough cleaning, hand-washing protocols, social distancing and the wearing of masks.
“This is really uncharted territory for us to get everything done,” Eddington said. While his office is open to accepting tax payments in person, Eddington said his diagnosis confirms “you really need to be careful.”
The county has several alternative payment methods.
Payments may be made online at www.craighead county.org/assesstaxes/, by mail at Post Office Box 9278, Jonesboro 72403, or by using a dropbox beneath the Courthouse Annex awning at 511 Union St.
“Those things are really prudent to do to keep everybody safe,” Eddington stressed.
Eddington added only checks and money orders can be accepted through the mail or in the dropbox.
Eddington said he realizes many people will have difficulty paying their taxes this year because of the economic impact of the pandemic, but he urges residents to pay as much as they can before the state-imposed deadline of Oct. 15. A 10 percent penalty applies to all unpaid property taxes owed after that date, so even if someone only pays half of what’s owed, the penalty will only apply to the unpaid half, he said.