The amount of positive COVID-19 cases remained high over the weekend here in Arkansas. 33 additional deaths were added to the death toll this Sunday and 25 deaths on Saturday. Northeast Arkansas cases continue to remain high especially in Craighead County who has been in the top 5 highest counties throughout the last two weeks. Hospitalizations across the state have seen a dramatic increase in the last 14 days specifically in Northeast Arkansas.  We have the same number of COVID patients in NEA hospitals as the Little Rock metro hospitals with a 112% increase in hospitalized here.

Today Governor Asa Hutchison stated. ”There are 867 new COVID-19 cases in AR. This number is higher than normal for a Sunday which reminds us we must win every day in this fight. Sadly, the 33 deaths are the highest yet. Be safe this week & let’s all do our part to stop the spread in our communities.”

This week also saw NEA hospitals coming together to release a statement concerning the high number of hospitalization due to COVID-19. CEO of St. Bernards Healthcare Chris Barber stated. ‘ The hospitals are currently sustaining the large number of COVID-19 patients. We can not continue the trend we see right now.  We see a big increase in community spread. “   He stressed importance of social distancing, wearing a mask when out and staying home unless necessary to help protect our health care workers.  The  CEO of Nea Baptist said ” We are trending in the wrong direction by not following the guidelines that have been set forth.  Many Healthcare workers are getting the virus by community spread , friends, family not following guidelines.”    

 Dr. Shane Speights  NYIT Dean added “ Wearing masks means we can continue to do our daily activities and support local businesses.  Mask wearing and social distancing helps control local spread of COVID-19.’   

Community leaders may need to refocus and address the health care issues.  

  Studies show …No significant drop in oxygen levels from mask wearing.  Wearing a cloth mask is safe and you are keeping people around you safe by wearing one. 

 Each hospital has developed a surge plan to be able to handle the patients.  The largest risk is spread in community to health care workers.  

 COVID-19 is real.  In many cases it can be mild in other cases in can be devastating.  

 Asymptotic cases still spread the disease which is why mask wearing is important. 

To protect yourself and others, the ADH recommends:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Practice physical distancing. Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick, by keeping at least 6 feet between you and others.
  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, seek testing. Testing is available in many locations, including ADH Local Health Units.
  • Wear a face covering when you are exposed to non-household members and physical distancing cannot be assured.