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Coronavirus in Arkansas: New state unemployment website launched, hotline hours extended


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday afternoon there are 1,620 cases of the coronavirus in the state.

There were four additional deaths announced Thursday, bringing the state’s death toll due to the coronavirus to 37. According to Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, two of the deaths announced Thursday were people under the age of 65 and the other two were older than 65. Smith said all four had underlying medical conditions.

Eighty-five people have been hospitalized due to the coronavirus as of Thursday. According to Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, there were five new hospitalizations, but three were discharged.

There are 21 people on a ventilator, which is five fewer than the day before.

According to Smith, 548 have recovered, which is 59 more than the day before.

There are 223 health care workers with confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Eighty-one health care workers have recovered, according to Smith.

Smith said there are 118 residents in 28 nursing homes with confirmed cases of the virus.

As for the correctional facilities, Smith said there are 46 inmates and nine staff/contractor with the virus, 27 staff and 59 inmates in the Little Rock Community Corrections, 46 inmates and no staff at Cummins.

Both Governor Hutchinson and Smith said the hospitalizations seem to be staying steady, but Smith said it was “too early to do a victory lap”. Smith said the state should start looking at post-peak response and that state officials are looking at how to quickly and safely “peel back” and revise restrictions.

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced Thursday that there is a new unemployment website.

The website, , provides an FAQ for Arkansans working through issues filing with unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can file online through the website between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., Sunday through Saturday, or call to file at 1-844-908-2178 during the same hours.

The state is also extending its hotline to 6 days a week, starting at 6 a.m. and running until 4 p.m.

Preston also announced there is also a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) email alert system for self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers to sign up to receive weekly updates. Preston said all the person has to do is fill out their name, email and what county they live in. To sign up for email alerts, click here.

Preston also said the Small Business Administration approved 14,803 businesses in Arkansas for over $2.1 billion for the Payroll Protection Plan.

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