By Caroline Sellers
Jefferson County has 48 active COVID-19 cases, the highest number in the Southeast region of the state, according to March 24 data from the Arkansas Department of Health
The major hospital in the area, the Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, has seen a slight bump up in cases, with nine COVID-19 patients as of March 23, said Jamie McCombs, the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the hospital.
“A few weeks ago our numbers were down a little bit and they have gone up some since then,” McCombs said. “It’s not anywhere near as high as we were right in the middle of the pandemic but in the last few weeks the number has gone up just a little.”
St. Francis County follows behind Jefferson County with 19 active cases and Arkansas County is next with 18 active cases, according to March 24 data from the ADH. Jefferson County, home to 70,424 people, overall has reported 8,717 total positive COVID-19 cases and 161 total deaths due to the virus, according to ADH data.
Since the COVID-19 case load dropped significantly, Jefferson Regional Medical Center shifted operations and no longer has an entire floor dedicated to treating patients with the virus. Just part of one floor is assigned for COVID-19 patients, McCombs said.
McCombs said there’s been progress in vaccinating both staff and the public. As of March 18, the Jefferson Regional Medical Center has vaccinated 664 employees, according to McCombs.
As of March 22, Jefferson County has vaccinated 10,796 people with the first dose and 5,010 people with the second dose, according to ADH data.
“When I go into the community, everybody is wearing a mask,” McCombs said. “People are abiding by the guidelines and they are wearing their masks from what I have encountered.”