COVID-19 Cases in Arkansas Continue to Climb
The Arkansas Department of Health reported 236 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state as of 8:30 Wednesday morning, although there are still none in Clay County. But, Lawrence County was added to the list, along with Greene County, and officials in Missouri report a confirmed case in Dunklin County as well.
In response to the continued spread, further restrictions were announced by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, including the closure of all hair salons and barber shops.
As reported elsewhere, local response has included closure of local city government offices in Rector and Piggott, closure of the county courthouses to non-essential personnel and other efforts to cut down on large groups of individuals and exposure to those who may have symptoms.
The rumor mill has also been active, with numerous false reports on social media. Others have also sought to take advantage of the situation, and a number of scams have also been reported. On Monday Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller offered the following release- “We here at the Clay County Sheriff's Department would like to make the public aware of some scams that are starting to circulate about COVID-19. As announced in today's press release with the governor, there have been individuals going door-to-door claiming they are with the CDC or the Arkansas Health Department. These individuals are claiming they were sent to test individuals at home and are charging the individual. The CDC and the Arkansas Health Department are not doing this. They have set up testing sites or you can contact your health care provide and talk with them about getting tested.
The second scam is an individual claiming they are selling the COVID-19 cure. At this time there is no cure. Top scientists are working diligently to find a vaccine.
If anyone comes to your home and attempts to sell you a cure or test you and/or your family, tell them to leave and immediately call either your local Police Department or the Clay County Sheriff's department.
We will continue to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and update our residents as we gain information.”
State officials are also on the look-out for those choosing to price-gouge, and are asking the public to assist in the effort. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge posted the following to her website on the matter.
“Arkansans have enough on their minds right now and paying exponentially inflated prices for basic necessities shouldn't be one of them,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am committed to working with online retail platforms to hold pandemic profiteers accountable to the full extent of the law.”
Arkansas’s price gouging law prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10 percent of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.