A CLOSER LOOK: Yell & Chicot Counties are COVID-19 “areas of concern,” per CDC

A Closer Look

Gov. Hutchinson: "This fight against COVID-19 is likely to get harder and not easier"

Oct. 8, 2013, file photo, a sign marks the entrance to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The United States, is the nation with the most pandemic deaths. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 data lists 10 areas across the country that were hit hard with the virus in the past two weeks — two counties were in Arkansas.

Permission to use per Yahoo! News national correspondents Alexander Nazaryan/Laura Ramirez.

A CDC internal document acquired by Yahoo! News shows 10 locations, from June 23 to July 7, with the highest number of cases per 100,000 as “areas of concern” and in the “high burden” category. Yell County was number one and Chicot County was number eight.

CDC’s “HIGH BURDEN” AREAS, 6/23 to 7/7

  • Yell, AR (population 22,185, 302 new cases)
  • Mineral, CO (population 712, 10 new cases)
  • Thurston, NE (population 137, 93 new cases)
  • Santa Cruz, AZ (population 46,498, 527 new cases)
  • Victoria, TX (population 67,015, 989 new cases)
  • Nueces, TX (population 362,294, 1,342 new cases)
  • Miami-Dade, FL (population 2.7 million, 24,236 new cases)
  • Chicot, AR (population 11,800, 90 new cases)
  • Galax City, VA (population 6,983, 54 new cases)
  • Franklin, WA (population 95,222, 778 new cases)

YELL COUNTY’S DYNAMICS

Yell County has a population of a bit more than 22,000, as of the 2010 census.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services lists 15 of the largest employers:

  • Poultry processing plant: Tyson in Dardanelle and Wayne Farms in Danville
  • School districts: Dardanelle, Danville and Two Rivers School (in Ola) School Districts
  • Medical facilities: Chambers Memorial Hospital in Danville and River Valley Medical Center in Dardanelle
  • Manufacturing: Deltic Timber in Ola, Grandeur Fasteners, Pet Solutions, Custom Wood Recycling, all located in Danville
  • Nursing homes: Dardanelle Nursing & Rehab and Mitchell’s Nursing Home in Danville
  • Bank: Chambers Bank which has several locations
  • Retailer: Walmart

Most recently, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 901 cumulative cases and 195 active cases. There have been 10 COVID-related deaths, eight are from one nursing home, and two of the deaths were reported on July 15.

“I would have to say three-fourths of the active cases are likely in Danville,” according to the Danville Police Department’s COVID update. “We do have 90 total residential cases from Mitchell’s Nursing Home. Staffing tests included 11 new cases for a total of 52. Of the 52, 39 have recovered.”

Both poultry processing plants have been on the state’s top locations for most infected employees. There are nearly a total of 50 employees with active cases at Tyson and Wayne Farms, in Danville, according to an ADH report. Overall, 253 employees have recovered from the virus.

Since late June, Yell County has had daily new cases of the virus in the upper-20s through most of July, according to the governor’s daily COVID-19 briefings. On June 20 and 28, 42 and 48 new cases were reported, respectively. On July 6 and July 16, 28 and 38 new cases were reported, respectively.

CHICOT COUNTY’S DYNAMICS

Chicot (pronounced: chico) County is at the state’s southeast corner. As of the 2010 census the population was nearly 12,000.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services lists 10 top employers:

  • Manufacturing: Superior Uniform Group in Eudora
  • Health care: Chicot Memorial Medical Center and Southeast Rehabilitation Hospital both in Lake Village
  • School districts: Lakeside School District in Lake Village, Dermott School District and Eudora School District
  • Nursing home: Dermott City Nursing Home
  • Restaurant: McDonald’s in Lake Village
  • Retailers: Paul Michael Company and Southeast Foods both in Lake Village

The Arkansas Department of Health reports 245 cumulative cases, and all but 82 have recovered. On July 15, 16 new cases were reported in a 24 hour period. There have been three deaths.

When the pandemic began in mid-March, the Chicot County Sheriff’s Office offered to pick up prescriptions within the county for anyone 65 or older, disabled, or with underlying health issues. Those cities included Dermott, Eudora and Lake Village.

TESTING RATES

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended for states to be below a 5% positivity rate for at least 14 days before reopening. CDC recommends 10% and that’s the guidance used by Arkansas’ state officials. Arkansas is in the Top 10 of states with a high percentage of positive tests — 13.61%, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

COVID TRACKING PROJECT DATA

TOP 10 STATES FOR PERCENTAGE OF POSITIVE TESTS

  • ARIZONA: 23.96%
  • FLORIDA: 18.77%
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: 18.49%
  • ALABAMA: 16.64%
  • TEXAS: 15.12%
  • GEORGIA: 15.49%
  • NEVADA: 15.13%
  • IDAHO: 14.08%
  • ARKANSAS: 13.61%
  • MISSISSIPPI: 13.48%

During the state’s daily COVID-19 briefings, counties with the highest new cases are reported, along with hospitalizations, those on ventilators, deaths, and number of people tested.

On Thursday, July 16, Governor Hutchinson announced a mask mandate would take effect on Monday, July 20. He gave various reasons for issuing the Executive Order 20-43, but most notable was that numbers were not going down. The state has had more than 350 deaths, 464 hospitalized, 97 are on ventilators, as of Friday, July 17. The cumulative case total is 31,762 and nearly 25,000 people have recovered.

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR’S MASK MANDATE

“This whole fight against COVID-19 is going to get harder and not easier. We have to meet the challenge together and everyone must do their part. This is the way to enlist the support of everyone in this fight.”

— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), July 16, 2020

Poultry industry in Arkansas: 434 total active COVID-19 cases at 17 plants

A CLOSER LOOK: Arkansas’ COVID-19 deaths

A CLOSER LOOK: a story about a COVID-19 Yell County funeral

For more feature-like stories visit A CLOSER LOOK on nwahomepage.com

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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