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Arkansas State Health Department reports 165 across the state


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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Arkansas State Health officials say there are now 165 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state during a press conference on Sunday, up from 118 on Saturday.

It’s the largest one-day increase for Arkansas to date.

Governor Asa Hutchinson and Dr. Nathaniel Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, provided the update to media regarding Arkansas’s COVID-19 response. Among the highlights from Sunday’s briefing:

  • Testing will continue to increase, as well as a number of positive cases.
  • 6 Briarwood Nursing Home staff tested positive for the virus.
  • They announced that Arkansas has received 25% of PPE that they requested. This includes masks, gloves, and other protective equipment.
  • They said that after that supply is exhausted, the state is on its own for protective gear.
  • Governor Asa Hutchinson said they have dedicated $30 million to the state for the fight against the virus.
  • He said there will be a great need for those who become unemployed and estimates 8,000- 10,000 have sought unemployment within the last few days.
  • They said they have asked lawmakers to bring in money ($1.1 million) from a rainy day fund to improve IT for the unemployment system.
  • Dr. Nate Smith updated us on the numbers for the positive cases in Arkansas: 10 children, 62 65+-year-olds and 93 19-64-year-olds. 61% female and 39% male.
  • 19 hospitalized at one point in time. 12 in the ICU and 6 on a ventilator.
  • 44 nursing home workers and residents tested positive in the 3 nursing homes investigated
  • Most from Briarwood- 35 residents and 6 staff tested positive

Dr. Cam Patterson provided an update on how UAMS is helping the fight against the coronavirus. He said UAMS will start doing COVID-19 testing Monday. You can provide info online for sample submission.

“We don’t know how high this wave will crest or how long it will take to pass.”

Dr. Smith said they are trying to prioritize testing towards those who need it which are hospitalized patients, healthcare workers, 65 and up with symptoms and those with underlying conditions.

They have found some positive cases in some who weren’t the highest priority.

Surgical style masks, cloth masks are most useful to keep someone sick from spreading

Governor Asa Hutchinson finished with encouraging people to get out and enjoy the spring and that you can’t just isolate in your homes, but asked that when they do get out, they follow the guidance on social distancing.

The vast majority of people who contract the virus recover within weeks. It causes only mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but it can lead to more severe illness, including pneumonia, especially in older adults and people with preexisting health problems.

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