Jonesboro City Parks and Recreation Department is shuttering exercise equipment, picnic tables and restrooms as a next-step measure in the effort to prevent spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Craighead County.
Mayor Harold Perrin made the decision after discussions with Chief of Staff Mike Downing and Parks Director Danny Kapales.
“This is where Danny and his staff are seeing people gather, and there’s no way we can keep those places sanitized enough to prevent spread of this highly infectious disease,” Perrin said Wednesday.
With more than 20 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the county, a University of Texas study reports that Craighead is 99-percent likely to experience an outbreak of epidemic proportions in the coming weeks and months.
Perrin and City Medical Director Dr. Shane Speights of NYIT have expressed concern particularly about young people not heeding the warnings about social distancing. Most reports have shown that young people experience less severe symptoms when catching the virus, but a national report Wednesday revealed that more than 750 Americans under age 50 have already died with confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Arkansas has more than 1,000 confirmed cases, but experts agree that the true number is significantly higher.
“Every doctor or expert I talk to tells me that many test kits have not been run, and I know of a few myself,” Perrin said. “If we are not able to get test results in a timely manner, it is really difficult to get a handle on just how many cases of COVID-19 we have in Jonesboro.”
As Jonesboro also continues to recover from the March 28 tornado, Perrin announced that the drop-off areas for tornado debris on Strawfloor Road will be closed Sunday, April 12, for the Easter holiday.