BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The state of Arkansas sees triple-digit new COVID-19 cases for the last five days in a row.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said most of those cases are in younger people.
The most recent death was a 39-year-old Marshallese woman from Bethel Heights.
The younger folks, they think they are invincible. They go out, mingling in the crowd. They feel fine, and they’ll be fine, but they are going to spread the virus to the vulnerable.DR. APPATHURAI BALAMURGAN, ADH DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
“It is likely they are the ones spreading [COVID-19] to others too,” he said. “We have a lot of middle-aged people who are being impacted.”
On Monday, June 8, Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said many of the Natural State’s cases are coming from assisted living facilities, but the virus is also being spread within people’s homes.
“We have to take precautions wherever we go, but the situations we are most concerned about are where people have prolonged close contact with one another,” Dr. Smith said.
Dr. Balamurgan said this is a big reason why Northwest, Arkansas, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
They have multiple generations living together and that’s the reason for spread.DR. APPATHURAI BALAMURGAN, ADH DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
Arkansas United Founding Executive Director Mireya Reith said they’ve been working for months trying to get resources out to Marshallese and Latinx communities.
“The state can’t do this alone and we have to be partners alongside them,” she said. “The more that we can spread the word out there that this is serious, and that we do need to get tested, and as much as all of us want to get back to work, it’s important that we put our health first.”
An effort the Arkansas Department of Health has also been apart of.
“We are printing off a lot of Spanish materials and disseminating [them] within our local health units,” Dr. Balamurgan said.
The biggest message the ADH wants to get out right now though, is letting the younger population understand their role in protecting others from the virus.
“When folks go out, they need to not just be protecting themselves, they need to be protecting their loved ones when they get back to the house,” Dr. Balamurgan said.