Yell County sees spike in COVID-19 cases, attributed to outbreak at poultry facility

Local News

DARDANELLE, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday, more than 300 cases of COVID-19 in the state of Arkansas come from the poultry industry. One of those businesses is in Dardanelle. 

Over the course of the pandemic, Yell County had one of the lowest numbers of COVID-19 across the state.

“We have done a really good job in Dardanelle, the surrounding area. The community has really bought in,” Dardanelle Mayor Jimmy Witt said.

Witt knew it wouldn’t stay that low. It was just a question of when will the outbreak happen.

“Now we’ve seen an increase,” Witt said.

From one week to the next, the case numbers jumped from below 15 to mid 70’s. As of Tuesday, there are about 100 cases and 69 of those active.

“The virus is here it’s going to be here for a while,” Witt said.

The Mayor said a big reason for that spike in cases comes from Nebo Poultry. It’s a chicken medicating facility and a group of their employees tested positive for the virus.

“He caught the symptoms early a couple guys were feeling bad that afternoon and sent everybody over to get tested,” Witt said.

Those employees are now on the road to recovery and the Arkansas Department of Health came in to do a contact tracing.

“A lot of the contacts from the employees is where we started to see the numbers kind of jump,” Witt said.

While most of the positives in the county have been identified, Mayor Witt knows they are not out of the woods just yet.

“I really think we’ll find a few more scattered here and there,” Witt said.

He said they are back on the right track.

“I think we’re going to be alright. We’re just going to keep moving forward everyday and take it one day at a time,” Witt said.

Mayor Witt said Dardanelle Regional Medical Center has been a huge help in getting as many people as possible tested daily.

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