Officer returns to duty

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

On Monday, during Blytheville Mayor James Sanders COVID-19 press conference, Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson said the officer asked to self-isolate has returned to work.

Thompson added the full staff is healthy.

Other major issues that the chief addressed included that people have been removing caution tape from playground equipment.

“(The caution tape) was put there for a reason, to keep the children safe,” Thompson explained. “This equipment is contaminated. This equipment has not been cleaned or decontaminated. The children should not be playing on it.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were nine positive COVID-19 tests, 54 negative tests and six recoveries in Mississippi County. In Poinsett County, there were 10 positive tests, 55 negatives and five recoveries, while in Craighead County there were 45 positive tests, 469 negative tests, 28 recoveries and one death.

At Friday’s press conference Sanders asked Nucor Steel Arkansas vice president and general manager Jay Henderson and Vice President/General Manager of Nucor-Yamato Steel Thad Solomon to speak about how the Nucor plants are currently handling the pandemic.

Henderson and Solomon stated that no team members at any Nucor facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.

Nucor is taking “extreme and proactive measure” to make sure all employees stay safe. Some of these measures include social distancing, altered schedules so not everyone is coming in at the same time and some employees are working from home.

Henderson also mentioned that if any employees have flu like symptoms to let Nucor know immediately and stay home and quarantine.

Solomon stated the reason Nucor is an essential employer, allowing it to continue to operate.

Nucor’s steel is used in “critical projects across the country,” Solomon said.

A question asked over the live feed was about shutdown and contractors during shutdown.

Solomon stated Nucor-Yamato Steel is currently on its regularly scheduled shut down that occurs twice a year.

“We are in a shut down right now. Regularly scheduled. It has been scheduled for about six months and we typically do it twice a year,” Solomon explained. “(We) do a lot of major maintenance around the plant. Typically, we have a lot of people that come in, but one of the steps we took under guidance from the corporate office and under CDC and Department of Health is limit the number of people. So, we had to go in and re-work the work list that we wanted to do and really we are having to do more of the work ourselves. It’s a much more limited scope than what we usually do, but it is all out of the concern for the safety and well being of everybody on our plant site.”

Both men stated Nucor has a “no-layoff practice” and they don’t plan on laying people off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another item mentioned during Monday’s press conference by fire chief Mike Carney is that people making cleaners at home shouldn’t be mixing chemicals without reading the information on the bottles. Carney added if you do make cleaners or sanitizers from home keep them away from small children.

Sanders is scheduled to hold another press conference today (Wednesday) at 3 p.m. and Friday at 3 p.m.