COVID-19 Cases in Clay County and State Climb

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

As the country, and state, continue to relax restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the number of those testing positive also continues to climb. In the past week the Arkansas Department of Health reported four new cases in Clay County, as the statewide death toll has climbed to 165.

Following many days of no increases, two cases in Clay County were verified last week with two more added this week. According to the ADH, this brings the total to eight who have tested positive in the county, with three still active and five recovered. And according to officials, two are from the same household and all of the new cases are in the eastern part of the county.

The increase, which has been statewide, comes as Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced a move into Phase Two for reopening the state on Monday, although all of the safety measures are still encouraged—such as masks and social distancing.

In response to a climb in numbers statewide, the Arkansas Department of Health continues to promote testing, and tracing of those who come into contact with someone with the virus. The ADH began offering testing in mid-May at their health units across the state, working in support of other efforts. On the local scene, Piggott Community Hospital continues to operate a COVID-19 screening facility at their clinic in Rector and do tests on-site. PCH also continues to screen visitors to the ER and specialty clinics, and have limited visitors to the hospital as well.

Health officials noted testing is encouraged for all individuals who believe they have had contact with, or been exposed to, a positive case as well as anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Tests will also be offered to anyone with or without symptoms who lives in or has traveled to an area experiencing active transmission.

Those seeking a test should confirm that the health unit is open and call ahead for an appointment so that staff can prepare and ensure safe spacing between patients. A list of health units is available at www.healthy.arkansas.gov/health-units and the phone number for the Clay County Health Unit in Piggott is 870 598-3390.

Patients will be directed to self-collect specimens outside of the unit using a provided nasal swab and container. The specimens will then be sent to the state Public Health Laboratory. Results are typically made available within 48 to 72 hours, though it can take up to a week. Positive patients will be notified as soon as a result is available.

The ADH noted there is no out-of-pocket cost for the tests, but insurance may be billed for patients who are covered.

As of Thursday morning there have been 10,368 confirmed cases in Arkansas, with 3,087 still active and 7,116 recovered. The virus has also claimed the lives of 165 Arkansans in the past several months—up 10 from Tuesday.

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