LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK/KTAL) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arkansas has risen to more than 400 and two more people have died.
That brings the total number of deaths in the state due to the coronavirus as of Saturday to five. Both of the newly reported deaths are in central Arkansas, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nathaniel Smith said in a briefing Saturday afternoon. One was in their 70s, the other in their 40s.
Dr. Smith said at least one of those victims did not have underlying health issues.
15 of the COVID-19 cases in Arkansas are among children, Smith said. Five are among pregnant women. 124 of the cases are aged 65 and older. Most of the cases, 242, are among people between the ages of 19-64.
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During the briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressed the economic impact the pandemic is having in the state, noting that more than 30,000 have filed for unemployment, “which is a new record for the state of Arkansas.”
“It is a health crisis but also a financial crisis for many Arkansans,” Hutchinson said.
Officials say they have updated and upgraded their website for people to file for unemployment and it can now be accessed seven days a week. They said they are also bringing in more people to answer phone calls. Still, they acknowledged there will be issues and asked people to be patient while going through the process online.
Small businesses can also get additional cash. According to officials, they can receive up to $25,000. They say they have already received over 500 inquires this past week from small businesses that need help.