JONESBORO — More coronavirus deaths in Craighead and surrounding counties were reported Tuesday by the Arkansas Department of Health.
Craighead had 32 new confirmed cases and two deaths, according to the daily report. One death each was also reported in Poinsett, Mississippi and Cross counties.
Statewide, there were 481 new casses, raising the cumulative total since March to 89,351, and 25 deaths raising the statewide toll to 1,463.
One manufacturing facility in Jonesboro had eight active cases as of Monday. The report didn’t identify the company but said the plant has had a total of 57 cases during the pandemic. The other patients have since recovered.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson ruled out rolling back the state’s reopening despite a recent surge in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths from the illness caused by the virus.
The Republican governor extended for another 60 days the emergency declaration he issued because of COVID-19.
“There’s not really an option to go back on our opening of businesses,” Hutchinson said at his weekly news conference on the outbreak. “We’re way past that in Europe and the United States, here in Arkansas.”
Hutchinson, instead, said the focus needs to be on following the state’s mask mandate and other safety guidelines because of the virus.
Arkansas was among a handful of states that never issued a stay-at-home order because of the virus, but had closed bars, restaurants and other businesses. They have since reopened, but with capacity limits and other safety restrictions.
Hutchinson had previously rejected a White House task force’s recommendation that the state close bars to slow the virus’ spread. The White House Coronavirus Task Force said in its latest weekly report on the state, released Tuesday, that Arkansas last week ranked 11th in the country for new cases per capita, putting it in the “red zone.”
The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 fell by three Tuesday to 605, a day after the state hit a new high for hospitalizations due to the illness. The task force said an average of 92 percent of hospitals in the state reported new confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients each day last week.
Hutchinson said he’s discussed options with his public health team on further steps the state can take if its hospitalizations continue rising. He didn’t elaborate on them, but said some of them include public messaging about the state’s safety restrictions.
About a quarter of the state’s 9,112 hospital beds and nearly 13 percent of its 1,031 intensive care unit beds are available, according to the state Department of Health. There 251 COVID-19 patients in ICUs around the state.
Northeast Arkansas COVID-19 cases by county through Tuesday:
Craighead – 3,561 confirmed (up 32 from Monday), 139 probable (up 11), 460 active cases; 29 confirmed deaths, 3 probable.
Greene – 1,060 confirmed (up 18), 62 probable (up 4); 1457active; 15 confirmed deaths,
Lawrence – 553 confirmed (up 6), 60 probable (up 6); 116 active; 13 confirmed deaths.
Poinsett – 784 confirmed (up 10), 44 probable (up 5); 113 active; 14 confirmed deaths, 1 probable.
Mississippi – 1,837 confirmed (up 29), 60 probable (up 2); 135 active cases; 44 confirmed deaths, 11 probable.
Jackson – 403 confirmed (unchanged), 145 probable (up 3); 136 active cases; 4 confirmed deaths, 1 probable.
Randolph – 459 confirmed (up 3), 86 probable (up 7); 64 active cases; 18 confirmed deaths, 5 probable.
Cross – 483 confirmed (up 6), 32 probable (up 3); 33 active cases; 17 confirmed deaths, 2 probable.
Clay – 364 confirmed (up 3), 20 probable (unchanged); 45 active cases; 5,472 total tests, 9 confirmed deaths, 2 probable.