From Judge Ben Cross:
To the citizens of Pope County,
As the progression of the Coronavirus continues, and the number of COVID-19 positive tests continues to rise as expected, we would like to again update our communities as we have done approximately every 10 days, with where we are as a county, and what we are continuing to do to mitigate the expected surge in cases.
As previously reported, we continue to have daily briefings with ADEM (Arkansas Department of Emergency Management) and our LEPC, (Local Emergency Planning Committee). These briefings update us on the statewide response to the pandemic, and status updates on our requests for PPE supplies for our first responders. To date, we have only received approximately 25% of our requests, but more are expected within the week. Additionally, we have placed orders on the open market to secure our PPE footing for Correctional and EMS workers.
In partnership with our local healthcare providers, we can report approximately 700 people have been seen by our local COVID-19 triage center since opening, and the rate of turnaround on testing continues to improve as labs enhance their testing capabilities. It should be expected that some of those being tested recently could actually receive results sooner than those who may have been tested a week ago, simply because of the addition in capability since the testing began, and where some individual tests are currently already “in the pipeline.”
Additionally, we can report a “surge plan” has also been developed in coordination with our partner’s at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, Arkansas Tech University, and several different emergency departments within City and County government. A surge plan is our community’s proactive approach to effectively respond, if and when, the local medical facilities reach capacity and additional facilities are required. Through the overwhelming support of Dr. Robin Bowen and her staff at ATU, and the medical and operational staff at St. Mary’s, we feel we have a comprehensive regional response ready if needed.
As of this writing, there are eight confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pope County. If we are to continue to have success in flattening the curve, it is absolutely imperative our residents limit their travels and non-essential shopping. Citizens that shop for essential items need to use a family designated shopper and not take multiple persons into the stores. An excess number of shoppers will only contribute to the problem, prolong the duration of the pandemic, and further jeopardize your respective families.
Please take the precautions necessary to save your life and seriously consider the ramifications of placing yourself into populated situations.