Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson met by teleconference with department heads and other officials Monday morning to discuss the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Arkansas Department of Health had announced last week that one patient tested positive for the novel virus in Boone County and specifically in the city limits of Harrison.
Jackson ordered that City Hall and other city facilities be locked down. RN Kim Cagle has been stationed at the entrance to City Hall and has been screening employees for temperature and health factors as they enter the building.
Police Chief Chris Graddy said the number of calls into the department is about half now what it was in the recent past.
But one arrest was made over the weekend. Graddy said Cagle was called down in the middle of the night to screen that prisoner before he was allowed inside the building. Graddy called Cagle “a Godsend” for the department.
Fire Chief Marc Lowery said the majority of calls as of late have been medical emergencies. Firefighters still respond to those and other calls as needed.
But Lowery said the department is also issuing burn permits by phone and (870) 741-6384.
Luke Feighert, chief financial officer, said there will continue to be one employee operating the drive-thru window for payments, but other employees are either working from home or staying home until needed.
Parks director Chuck Eddington said the park and equipment will remain open, which Jackson said he supported. Officials discussed the possibility of sanitizing playground equipment, but that might be difficult due to a shortage of sanitizing supplies.
Harrison Housing Authority director Chonda Tapley said the agency is working with Ozarks Share & Care to deliver food and hygiene supplies to people who are shut in their homes.
In a letter to city employees, Jackson urged them to keep a six-foot distance between themselves. He said communication is still effective at such a distance.
He also said the city will continue to pay employees out of reserves and that it would not apply to sick leave.