COVID-19 Cases Double in Clay County

Monday, June 15, 2020

Although the state of Arkansas moved into the more-relaxed Phase Two on Monday, cases of the coronavirus continue to be reported to the Arkansas Department of Health, In Clay County the number of positive cases more than doubled in the past week, climbing from eight early last week to 20 as of Monday morning—all in the eastern part of the county.

There has also been an increase statewide, with the number of positive cases climbing to over 12,500 with 4,212 still active. So far, the disease associated with the virus has claimed 179 lives in Arkansas while 8,110 have recovered.

On Monday the state moved into Phase Two, which allows restaurants and other businesses to increase to two-third capacity. Monday also marked the reopening of parks, community centers and local offices and businesses. On the other hand, many events are also being called off—including the demolition derby scheduled for Saturday, June 20, at the Clay County Fairgrounds. Organizers also report the Beatles at the Ridge festival in Walnut Ridge, set for this summer, has been called off for 2020.

In response to the increases, 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.

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 Monday morning, there were 201 Arkansas residents hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 45 of those on a ventilator. Additional information may be found on the Arkansas Department of Health website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov

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