Local Coronavirus News

Here's a list of stories of how the Upper Delta and Mid-South is combating the Coronavirus.

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City of Jonesboro Coronavirus Hotline/Email
Hotline: (870) 336-7244 (M-F 8 AM-5 PM; Emergencies Dial 911) | Email: covid19@jonesboro.org | Website

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Arkansas Unemployment Claims Hotline: 844-908-2178

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Watch the latest updated from Craighead Co/City of Jonesboro (Courtesty of City of Jonesboro) (3/30/20):

Watch the latest update from Gov. Asa Hutchinson (Courtesy of the Arkansas Governor's Office)(4/1/20):

Watch the latest White House Briefing (courtesy of NPR) (live feed)

Governor Asa Hutchsion at the daily press breifing
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchsion Official YouTube Channel

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has approved temporary changes to Arkansas State Parks’ operations to protect public health during the COVID-19 crisis, he announced at a news conference today. 

City of Jonesboro

As workers joined City of Jonesboro employees Wednesday in continuing recovery and cleanup effortsfrom Saturday’s EF3 tornado, Mayor Harold Perrin reminded residents of the city’s initial emergency: the imminent danger presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University in Wilson Hall in Jonesboro
Brandon Tabor / KASU News

As I approach my 40s, my annual wellness visits to my primary care physician usually consist of my doctor singing a familiar tune: improve your diet, get more exercise and make some changes to lose a little weight.

As important as those messages are, I’ll admit it’s easy for them to lose their gravitas when I hear the same things over and over again. Especially for me, a middle-aged man with an affinity for pizza and my television.

Arkansas Department of Health

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS- Four dental hubs have opened to service the needs of patients with urgent or emergency dental needs, while regular dental work has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. The first locations opened in Little Rock, Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Pine Bluff on Thursday, March 27, 2020. 

Arkansas Department of Health

JONESBORO, Ark., April 1, 2020- NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital has launched a new on-demand video visit feature through the Baptist OneCare MyChart app.

       This feature allows patients to schedule and conduct doctor’s appointments from their home or office, using a smartphone, computer or tablet. As with regular doctor’s appointments, patients may be required to pay co-pays or additional fees after their insurance is filed.

Arkansas State University

This release from Arkansas State University Chancellor Dr. Kelly Damphousse: 

 

Dear Red Wolves:

Missouri sees a spike in COVID-19 cases by nearly 300

Mar 31, 2020
Missouri Capitol
Wikipedia

O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri jumped by nearly 300 on Tuesday, as calls for a statewide stay-at-home mandate increased.

Health officials said 15 people have died and 1,327 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have been confirmed. That was a 28.7% increase from the 1,031 confirmed cases on Monday. St. Charles County said Tuesday that an 83-year-old woman has died of the coronavirus.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to reporters at the State Capitol alongside a graph showing both real and projected coronavirus cases in Arkansas.
Daniel Breen / KUAR

The death toll from COVID-19 in Arkansas rose to eight Tuesday, with the total number of coronavirus cases at 523.

This comes as state health officials and Gov. Asa Hutchinson say the state’s efforts at "flattening the curve" through social distancing appear to be working.

Talk Business and Politics

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin announced an extension of the nighttime curfew that has been in place since Saturday’s EF-3 tornado struck a long path through the city.

Until further notice, only motorists going to and from work will be allowed on city streets during this period. “Our police force is taxed enough under the current circumstances,” Perrin said. “This will allow law-abiding citizens to be at home and ensure no looting or valdalism is occurring while we clean up our city.”

Pixabay

This press release comes from NYIT's College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University.

It’s not unusual for tragedy such as the one Jonesboro experienced Saturday night to bring a community together - both literally and figuratively. However, in the midst of a global health crisis, local medical officials are warning people to use caution when gathering to conduct relief efforts. 

Arkansas Department of Health

LITTLE ROCK – With the approval of the General Assembly, Governor Asa Hutchinson has allocated an additional $45 million to the $30 million he authorized earlier for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators for health care professionals and first responders as they test and treat patients who have contracted COVID-19, he announced at a news conference today.

Pixabay

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri surpassed 1,000 on Monday and the state’s death toll rose to 13.

Health officials said that as of Monday afternoon, 1,031 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Missouri. That is an increase of 128 from Sunday.

One of the deaths announced on Sunday was William “Al” Grimes, the Henry County Democratic Party chairman. He died in Clinton, said state Chairwoman Jean Peter Baker.

Governor Asa Hutchsion at the daily press breifing
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchsion Official YouTube Channel

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday that he has approved an additional $45 million to purchase protective equipment for medical providers and for ventilators due to the coronavirus in the state.

The money is in addition to $30 million previously approved for protective equipment used by medical staff and others responding to coronavirus patients.

Tennesseans ordered to stay at home to curb coronavirus pandemic

Mar 30, 2020
Beale Street in Memphis, TN
Wikipedia

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued a statewide “safer-at-home” order on Monday to help stem the state’s rapid spread of coronavirus, mandating the closure of all nonessential businesses while urging residents to remain at home whenever possible for the next two weeks.

However, the Republican maintained his continued resistance to handing down stronger social distancing measures taken by other states.

Arkansas Department of Health

This statement comes from St. Bernard's Healthcare to the KASU newsroom. 

JONESBORO (March 30, 2020) –“The health of our patients, families and team members guides every decision we make at St. Bernards. Early this year, we recognized COVID-19’s pandemic qualities and began immediate preparations for the virus to reach our region.

Pixabay

Here’s the latest update on the dual emergencies taking place in Jonesboro at the moment:

Streets Department crews are working fast to remove tornado debris from ditches around the city in anticipation of afternoon rains. Streets Supervisor Steve Tippitt said his department is aware of a forecast of 2 to 3 inches of rain. “If we don’t get the ditches cleaned enough, we very likely will see some flooding,” Tippitt said.

Jonesboro Parks Closing Playgrounds

Mar 28, 2020
City of Jonesboro

Effectively immediately, Jonesboro parks will be open for trail use only, Mayor Harold Perrin announced Friday afternoon.

Other facilities, including playgrounds, pavilions and the remainder of the city’s 20 parks, will be closed until further notice as the City works to deter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Other cities around the state have already closed their parks entirely,” Perrin said. “And I hate to do it because one of the CDC best practices is getting exercise. But I saw the crowds gathered at Craighead Forest Park on Thursday with my own eyes.

Chancellor Kelly Damphousse has announced new housing restrictions on the Arkansas State University campus in Jonesboro, as a result of the expected increase in coronavirus cases in the region. Damphousse issued the statement to the campus community on Friday afternoon. You can read the entire statement here.

Arkansas State University

Recently, an Arkansas State University professor gave a TEDx Talk to an empty room about why people have hoarding tendencies in times of crisis.  In this talk you can watch here, Associate Professor of Political Science at Arkansas State University Dr. Hans Hacker asks a question about why so many people have been hoarding toilet paper during this COVID-19 pandemic.  KASU Station Manager Mark Smith interviewed Hacker about his talk.  Click on the Listen button for the entire interview.   

Governor Asa Hutchsion at the daily press breifing
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchsion Official YouTube Channel

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ largest city on Wednesday expanded its curfew because of the coronavirus outbreak, as the number of cases in the state rose to at least 280.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott said the city will impose a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The city had already been enforcing a curfew from midnight until 5 a.m. because of the outbreak.

Arkansas Department of Health

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas officials reported the state’s first two coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, and the governor said he’s calling lawmakers back to the Capitol to address a budget shortfall expected because of the pandemic.

St. Bernard’s Foundation is receiving personal protective equipment from area dentists and orthodontists to help in the fight against COVID-19.  President of the St. Bernards Foundation Kila Owens.

"The dental community in northeast Arkansas gathered together and donated gloves, masks, hand sanitizer...all of this is helpful for us as we prepare for more patients coming to St. Bernards in the COVID-19 outbreak."

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has authorized the release of $30 million to the Department of Finance and Administration for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care professionals and first responders as they test and treat patients who have contracted COVID-19.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas health officials on Friday said the number of coronavirus cases in the state has risen to 100 people, including 13 residents and staff of a Little Rock nursing home.

The state announced that the number of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, rose from 62 Thursday to 100.

Picture of the Cummins Unit sign of the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Wikipedia

As the number of COVID-19 cases rise in the state, the prison system is taking steps to help flatten the curve.  Arkansas Department of Corrections Communications Director Dina Tyler says  some of the precautions include suspending visitations for up to 21 days, as well as furloughs.  Tyler says the more that go out in the community, the greater chance something gets in the prisons.  She says one move has made it a little easier for inmates to contact their families:

Powhatan Historic State Park
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

LITTLE ROCK—Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism (ADPHT), today announced that ADPHT is instituting closings and/or limited access to some of its parks and museums in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective March 20.

Welcome Centers – Lobbies of the 13 Welcome Centers located around the state, which serve the traveling public, will close until further notice.

A-State Chancellor: Coronavirus Update March 20

Mar 20, 2020
Arkansas State University

The following is an email update from the ASU-Jonesboro Chancellor's Office as of Friday, March 20 at 9 A.M.

Logging Hours Worked by On-Campus Staff

Any employees who use Time Tracker to log hours and who are reporting to work on campus should continue to use the system.  Only employees working remotely should not use the system.  Supervisors will need to continue to approve weekly logs of those using the system.

Also any hourly, non-full time employees will have to clock in order to receive payment.

Arkansas Department of Health

While Mayor Harold Perrin and Craighead County Judge Marvin Day confirmed the first positive test of COVID-19 in the Jonesboro area, government and health officials urged residents to continue and in some cases heighten the one known practice to reduce the impact of the coronavirus: social distancing.

Arkansas Department of Health

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today that all Arkansas public schools will remain closed for onsite instruction through April 17 due to the increasing spread of COVID-19 across the state. The decision to close schools will be re-evaluated in a few weeks based on public health conditions at that time.

Talk Business and Politics

Updated 3/21/20 1:04 PM

The Arkansas Department of Health has confirmed 118 cases of COVID-19 in the state, 22 of those come from Cleburne county near the KASU listening area.  Here is the latest map from the Arkansas Department of Health:

City of Jonesboro officials have confirmed to KASU News that Craighead County has its first reported case of the coronavirus.

Craighead County sent and email to KASU News around 11:47 A.M. on Thursday.  It was a joint statement with County Judge Marvin Day and Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perin confirming the case:

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