County provides update on Coronavirus

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Mississippi County Judge John Alan Nelson called a special Quorum Court Monday afternoon and updated a packed room of county and city officials on COVID-19, announcing he has signed a proclamation of emergency and disaster.

Judge Nelson said this proclamation would open up the county’s ability to “be eligible to draw from ADEM supplies”.

According to Nelson, this makes sure first responders, physicians, clinics, hospitals, health department and other healthcare workers would have the equipment needed to continue to treat the public.

Nelson added that the county judge of Crittenden County had also signed a similar proclamation.

He stated another reason for the called meeting was to “come up with some orderly fashion that we could continue to conduct the county’s business as usual.” These things include paying bills, making deposits, collect taxes, assess assets, marriage licenses, etc.

Judge Nelson went around the room asking how much involvement each office had with the public and how much could be reduced at this time.

County Collector Susan McCormick stated everything in her offices can be done online.

County Assessor Harley Bradley stated the only time his office needs access to the public is if the public has a new vehicle, then his office needs the paperwork on them. Everything else can be done via phone, email or fax. Bradley stated to call before coming to the office but they can assess over the phone.

Judge Nelson stated the courthouse doors will not be closed but the public should know that it isn’t a necessity in all cases to come to the courthouse.

County Clerk Janice Currie stated about 85 percent of her office requires public access because attorneys have to file the court case in person and marriage licenses require the people to be there in person. Also, with the election in Leachville, citizens will need those numbers.

Nelson responded that the clerk’s office won’t be slowed down.

Judge Nelson added that he thinks that the county is in good shape and as of the meeting and press time no confirmed cases were in Mississippi County.

Justice Neil Burge asked about paychecks being distributed to employees.

Finance Director Kelli Jones stated usually a representative from each department comes to get the paychecks.

Also mentioned in the meeting was discussion of turning the Dixon Building at the Burdette Courthouse into a possible daycare with this extra week out of school. Justice Bill Nelson stated the building was equipped at one time with the appropriate size bathroom stalls for small children.

“I think it would be ideal if the number of children got to the point where you needed a place to put them,” Justice Nelson explained. “Instead of having them in the offices where they would probably get more contact with the public. Put them in a room with an RN, LPN or healthcare worker.”

Judge Nelson agreed and stated he’d look into the possibility of having a place for children to go during this extra week out of school.

Sheriff Dale Cook also mentioned that the Sheriff’s Department is setting up screenings in the sally port and offices and suspects would be screened before entering the jail.

If they are running a fever, Cook stated they’d be turned away and be told to be sent to the hospital for further testing. Cook also made mention to mayors in the county that they need to test officers at the beginning and end of their shifts as well.

A Red Cross representative also stated that the Red Cross is “incredibly low” and will need blood donations.