COVID-19 through the eyes of Washington County’s coroner


"Personally, being in this as long as I have if we don't pay attention to what's going on in this area with the diverse community that we have, we could be in for an interesting ride," Washington County Coroner Roger Morris said.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas saw the largest spike in COVID-19 cases in a single day since the pandemic began, just days before the Natural State is set to open for phase two.

I do feel like it’s going to spread, I do feel like we will see more deaths.


Roger Morris is no stranger to death.

“You won’t understand it until it’s someone you know, and when that happens it’s too late,” he said.

Morris has been Washington County Coroner for 20-plus years.

He said this pandemic is unlike anything he’s ever seen before.

“I’m seeing a lot of families that have it,” he said. “A lot of the deaths here lately, the whole families have had it.”

Just last week, the uptick in COVID-19 deaths drastically increased his workload.

I was nervous last week. The infectious disease cooler was too full.


With the Natural State heading for phase two on Monday, June 15, Morris said he is worried.

“But if they will practice what needs to be done when they go out, I feel like we can slow it down,” he said.

Morris said he wants to remind people that they should be wearing a mask — not for yourself, but for others.

“A lot of these individuals that have died do have underlying conditions, so we need to make sure we are taking care of them,” he said.

If we can maintain these simple acts of discipline it’ll help us avoid that spread.


Morris said by doing so, it could mean the difference between life and death for someone you love.

“When it happens to their family, they understand it,” he said. “They go, ‘Why didn’t I wear a mask?’ and no one wants that on their conscience.”

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