JONESBORO — As the COVID-19 case numbers in Arkansas and Craighead County have been on the rise, there have been some measures taken to help prevent the spread.

One such measure is the activation of 40 National Guardsmen, beginning Monday. Ten of those will report to Jonesboro.

According to information released by the National Guard, six have been assigned to St. Bernards Medical Center and four to Northeast Arkansas Baptist Memorial Hospital.

In all, nine hospitals in eight Arkansas cities will receive assistance to help with COVID-19 testing in order to help protect state residents and meet testing demand in the current COVID-19 surge.

Guardsmen will report for in-processing on Monday at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock. They will report to their assigned hospitals on Tuesday. Their initial orders are for 30 days, which may be extended or curtailed as conditions dictate.

In addition, Walmart announced Thursday the temporary closure of its store at 1815 East Highland Drive. The store closed at 2 p.m. and will be cleaned by a third-party specialist to sanitize the store.

“We want to assist health officials working against the pandemic,” Ashley Nolan with the Walmart Corporate Affairs Team said. “This is part of an ongoing company-initiated program.”

The store is scheduled to reopen to customers at 6 a.m. on Saturday.

“When the store reopens Saturday, we will continue conducting associate health assessments, and all unvaccinated associates must still wear face coverings,” Nolan said.

In addition to offering COVID-19 vaccines to customers through walk-in or online appointments, Walmart is also offering easy access to vaccines for associates.

“We will continue working closely with elected and local health officials, adjusting how we serve the community while also keeping the health and safety of our customers and associates in mind,” Nolan said.

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