Yell County becomes a hot spot for COVID-19 cases because of poultry facility

DARDANELLE, Arkansas — Yell County has seen little to no COVID-19 cases since the virus hit Arkansas. It wasn’t until a little over a week ago that all that changed.

It started on May 15 when Yell County received two new positive cases.

The next day, there were 13 cases.

Five days later, a jump to 31 — then it doubled to 62 within a day.

By the beginning of this week, there were 77 people with the virus.

Dardanelle Active Cases

Dardanelle Active Cases

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“When the talk started about reopening softly across the country, it didn’t surprise us to start seeing small clusters spike up,” said Dardanelle Mayor Jimmy Witt.

The outbreak is attributed to the Nebo Poultry facility.

“It’s just one of those cases where somebody picked it up offsite and brought it back to their place of employment,” said Witt.

Forty-percent of Nebo Poultry employees were infected with the COVID-19 virus. The Dardanelle mayor said testing was key into making sure it didn’t spread any further.

“He [the owner of Nebo Poultry] was able to keep that at bay. They contained it. The Health Department came in and did the contact tracing and walked him through every step,” said Witt.

In the past few days, Yell County has seen a decrease of cases.

There will be a free drive-thru testing clinic Friday, May 29 in Dardanelle. It will be at the Yell County Health Unit at 719 North 5th Street from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. 

You do not need to have symptoms to be tested.

Testing in Dardanelle

Testing in Dardanelle

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