JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Dr. Nate Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, updated the public Wednesday afternoon in Jonesboro on the state’s response to the coronavirus, including the latest cases of COVID-19 and deaths.
Several state and local leaders, including Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin and Craighead County Judge Marvin Day, attended Wednesday’s briefing at the Red Wolf Convention Center.
The governor said despite those statewide numbers, a 7-day rolling average showed that the Northeast region is on a downward trend from both the growth rate and hospitalizations.
A chart by the Department of Health showed an 87.5% increase in Greene County, going from 24 on May 17 to 45 on May 23.
Dr. Smith also talked about the concerns of the swim party in Greene County. He didn’t have an exact number yet of how many people were affected because they are still contact tracking. However, he said there’s no concern over a huge outbreak.
“If you have one of these group settings, it takes almost nothing for this virus to spread quickly," Dr. Smith said. "Even if you’ve been in a county with little cases that could change quickly.”
He even went as far as to say that the Greene County incident is a good lesson for all of us.
The governor announced that those under 17 years old saw a 46% increase in cases statewide.
Arkansas has also administered more than 66,000 tests, exceeding the state’s goal of 60,000.
Dr. Smith talked about the growing concern of the poultry industry in Arkansas. They had about 301 cases statewide with 220 of them still active.
Dr. Smith said in Craighead County there are a total of 191 cases reported with a 4% positivity rate. 50 of those cases are still active.
We also learned that most of the Craighead County cases are coming from the 25-44 age group.
There are 10 currently hospitalized in the county with 1 on a ventilator and 9 in ICU.
Craighead County has no COVID-19 deaths reported.
Dr. Smith said the testing in this county is higher than the state as a whole.
The visit comes just weeks after Dr. Smith said Craighead County was an “emerging hot spot” of the coronavirus. Since then, the state has increased the number of tests and implemented a drive-thru testing site at the Parker Road Walmart.
Governor Hutchinson said the most rapid increase in hospitalizations is happening in the Northwest part of the state among the Latino community there.
State officials are searching for ways to disseminate information for that community.
The governor also praised the city for its recovery efforts after the March 28 tornado during the pandemic.
He announced that people in Craighead County can call 888-683-ADEM starting Thursday through June 10 to get help from the SBA disaster assistance program.