Blytheville firefighters back at work

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Seven Blytheville firemen are back from quarantine, according to Blytheville fire chief Mike Carney.

During Blytheville Mayor James Sanders’ Monday COVID-19 press conference, Carney said only the firefighter who tested positive remains in quarantine and he anticipates he will return to work within the next week.

The fire chief said the fireman is anxious to get back to work.

Carney reminded everyone to wash their hands, social distance and wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“This is a volatile situation,” Carney said of the pandemic. “We’re a small department. Things can change. We can be in a setting where we’re exposed and in a heartbeat our lives will change by being exposed to this virus in one way or another.”

On Monday, Mayor Sanders reported that there are 83 active cases in the 72315 zip code, which is down from 89 on Saturday.

There were 553 cases in Mississippi County on Tuesday morning — 130 active — with 415 recoveries, eight deaths and 5,446 negative cases.

Mayor Sanders strongly encouraged residents to wear masks in public.

“We don’t want you to be a statistic,” Sanders said.

Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson noted officers are seeing residents wearing masks in public after the recent mask mandate from Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

He noted those at-risk have told him that they appreciate those who wear masks to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect themselves and others.

“We know that we will never get 100 percent compliance on any mask mandate,” Thompson said. “I know people have mixed feelings about that, however, I am proud of the number of people that we’re seeing that are complying.”

Since March, between 130-140 households in the Blytheville area have registered COVID-19 cases, according to Thompson.

Meanwhile, Thompson said the police department has seen a rash of fraudulent unemployment claims.

He said victims should contact Arkansas Workforce at 870-762-2035. The unemployment office will investigate and ask the victim to file a police report, which Thompson recommends doing through the Blytheville Police Department website,