112 active cases in Blytheville; leaders urge residents to test for COVID-19

Friday, July 31, 2020
Residents take advantage of free COVID-19 testing Friday, July 24, at the Mississippi County Heath Unit. There were 329 tested with 49 positive tests.

As the active COVID-19 cases reach triple digits in Blytheville, Blytheville leaders are encouraging residents to be tested.

During his Wednesday press conference, Blytheville Mayor James Sanders thanked the 329 who were tested Friday, July 24, at the local Health Department’s free drive-thru testing event.

Of those 329, 49 tested positive, according to Mayor Sanders.

“We need to be more cautious,” Mayor Sanders said. “Be vigilant and test.”

On Wednesday, there were 97 active cases in Blytheville and 158 active in the county.

Friday morning, there were 648 total positive cases in Mississippi County — 170 active — with eight deaths, 470 recoveries and 5,879 negative tests. According to Mayor Sanders, on Friday afternoon, there were 112 active cases in Blytheville.

In recent weeks, Mississippi County has consistently been among counties with the highest number of new cases in the state.

“We need to be conscious of the fact that there is a spread in our community,” Mayor Sanders said.

“Please, please, remember to wash your hands,” he added. “We’re seeing high numbers, but also we’re testing right now. You must be very vigilant about trying to combat COVID-19.”

Blytheville Fire Chief Mike Carney said testing will be key to stopping the virus.

“There’s nothing shameful or embarrassing about having this virus,” Carney said. “Nothing whatsoever. But, I’m going to tell you, what is shameful and embarrassing is if you have it and you’re spreading it and don’t know it because you’ve never been tested. That’s the shameful part, in my opinion. As we know, a lot of people spreading this virus don’t know they have it. They’re not doing it intentionally. But we’re fortunate around here to have all of this testing…I don’t expect people to live in a bubble; I really don’t. I expect them to do the right thing and share some responsibility by slowing the spread of this virus. But when I hear people talk about how they are not going to let this slow them down, they’re going to go on their vacation and to different states and areas and come back, because they appear to be healthy. The fact is there is a possibility that they could be part of the problem spreading this virus. What I’m trying to emphasize, the testing is available, please go out and get tested.”

Mayor Sanders noted he has been tested multiple times, with negative results each time.

“Look, these tests don’t feel good, but it’s necessary,” he said. “I’m not asking you to do more than anything the Sanders family is doing.”

Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson encouraged everyone to be patient during the pandemic.

“I think we can all say that we’ve had our fill of this, but it’s not gone yet, so we can’t let our guard down,” Thompson said. “We don’t want to get the coronavirus and we don’t want to spread it either. Since March, we now have recorded 187 different locations in the 72315 zip code where the residents have tested positive for the coronavirus.”

Mayor Sanders said if residents show any signs of the virus, they should be tested.

“Don’t allow a stigma to be attached to this; this is a health issue,” he said. “If you don’t feel good and you do find that you have some of the symptoms, tell someone and isolate until you can get to a medical professional.”