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Social Distancing, Social Discourse

Social Distancing, Social Discourse


County Judge keeping residents informed during continuing coronavirus crisis online Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless has been busy on social media during the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, taking to Facebook to address the public and answer questions.

“Today during the Governors press conference, he said that the current confirmed cases in the state stands at 946,” Wheeless posted Tuesday afternoon.

“That’s an increase of 71 since yesterday.”

To date, 67 of 75 Arkansas counties have at least one positive case. The number of positive cases is expected to increase in the state and our county as more testing is done.

Wheeless noted that this is likely just the beginning of the virus’s presence in Arkansas.

“The governor says it could be 6 to 8 weeks before the state hits its peak,” he said. “Let’s do our part to shorten that time frame.

Please continue to practice social distancing and washing your hands.”

Wheeless’s Facebook page has become a hub for social discourse on the pandemic since the very first cases were being reported in Crittenden County two weeks ago. Many residents have had questions and comments.

William Monroe said, “We need to go into ‘stay at home’ order, sir. Please reach out to the governor so we can stop this. People are not listening and still going on with their days.”

Wheeless replied, “The Governor said yesterday that the state is not at that point yet. If everyone will do their part, we will get through this.”

Monroe replied, lamenting, “I know, but these people aren't listening, and it's so sad. We have a great community, but they don’t want to listen and do what's necessary.”

To which Wheeless replied, “I understand but that’s a decision that has to be made at the state level.

All county judges are being briefed and we are relaying info related to our counties. The state is aware of what’s going on here and other counties across the state.”

“I know, sir,” said Monroe. “You will do what's best. I just wish the people would listen.”

Wheeless agreed.

“If the people don’t listen,” he said, “we will be dealing with this for many months instead of a couple.”

Monroe said, “I agree, sir.

Some people have to have it smack them in face before they understand.”

Chris Hughes asked, “Can each city mayor not make that call?”

Wheeless said, “Not sure if they can or can’t. They could issue curfews and have in the past.”

Chris opined, “For the good of the whole, it probly needs to be done to reduce the spread.”

Tammy Buckwalter was just grateful for the update. “Thank you for reaching out to all of us,” she said.

“We appreciate it and stay safe and healthy.”

“Thank you for keeping us updated,” added Audrey Chrestman, adding, “Please be safe.”

Cheryl Wright asked, “Are both cases in West Memphis?”

“Yes,” confirmed Wheeless.

“OK, I only knew of the one case,” said Wright.

“It’s hard trying to keep up with all the news.”

Teresa Almeda wanted more information about the second case. “So, both positive cases are residents of West Memphis?” she asked. “Am I reading that correctly? First case had just returned from California. Is that the case for second case? Travel?”

Michael Hood pointed out a grim likelihood.

Amanda Creasy asked the same question.

“Is the second case travel related?” she wondered.

“The first had traveled to California, right?”

Wheeless said, “I don’t have any information that says the latest case had traveled.”

“I can assure you there are cases in Marion and all areas of Crittenden County,” he said.

Cheryl Wigginton had some concerns about the state of public education.

Public schools shut down effective March 17, with plans tentatively putting classes on hold until April 20 at the soonest.

“The Department of Education put out a statement about high school seniors,” she said. “It would be nice if that statement was without questions. Are they done and if not, since they have meet all standards at the end of the third nine weeks, do they need to do the AMI work. There are too many holes in their statement.”

Wheeless replied, “At this point, they still have a target of April 17th as the last day kids will stay home.

Yesterday during the press conference, they said they are re-evaluating daily so the date could remain the same or change.”

Tim Bolt said, “Places like grocery stores and largetraffic areas have people coming in and out. Why not start washing and disinfecting the outside walkways down when they are closed?”

“That’s great for everyone but essential workers have no choice,” noted Tara Harrell. “Bobby Harrell is a paramedic and I am a nurse. We don’t have that option” Wheeless said, “We understand. Our first responders and medical staff remain to help when called upon.”

David Jones ran some numbers. While not scientific, it does offer some sobering projections.

“So, in one day, it went up 47 people sick in state, so in eight weeks, we will have 2,632 or more and what do you get for that?

No state lock-down!”

Deb Adams said, “Six to eight weeks? It'll be over?

Or at its worst?”

Deborah Leverette asked, “Is the second case related to the first case in any way?”

Wheeless said that did not appear to be the case.

“No, different locations in the county,” he said.

Wheeless then offered a link to COVID-19’s spread and prevention. The City of West Memphis offered similar information on its own Facebook.

As of April 8, there have been 61 positive cases in Crittenden County, with 18 coronavirus-related deaths statewide.

A set of COVID-19 guidelines in available on Page 3.

“ The governor says it could be 6 to 8 weeks before the state hits its peak,” he said. “ Let’s do our part to shorten that time frame. Please continue to practice social distancing and washing your hands.”

— Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless, addressing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic

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