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Coronavirus in Arkansas: Governor announces 704 cases in the state, no new deaths

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Friday that there are 704 cases of the coronavirus in Arkansas.

That is an increase of 61 cases from Thursday.

There were no new deaths announced at the news conference on Friday. The death toll in the state due to complications from the virus is at 12.

Of the 12 deaths, eight are 65 or older and four are ages 19-64, according to Dr. Smith. Smith also said the majority of the cases (six) resided in central Arkansas, three were from northwest Arkansas, two were from northeast Arkansas and one was unknown.

According to Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, 20 of those cases are children, 197 are adults aged 65 or older and 487 are adults aged 18 to 64.

About 60 percent of the cases are women, while 40 percent are men.

Dr. Smith said while there was a larger percentage of women with confirmed cases, 53 percent of the hospitalizations were men, and 62 percent of the ICU cases due to the virus were also men.

As of Friday afternoon, 71 people were hospitalized due to the virus.

Dr. Smith also said having a chronic illness in addition to the virus also increased a person’s chances of being hospitalized or placed in the ICU.

According to Dr. Smith, 8.5 percent of all cases involved someone who also had diabetes, but 30 percent of those who have been hospitalized had diabetes, and 38 percent of the ICU were patients who had the virus and were also diabetics.

When it came to heart disease, 7.7 percent of cases overall had the virus and heart disease. Out of the number who were hospitalized, 23 percent had the virus and heart disease, and 38 percent of the patients in the ICU due to the virus also had heart disease.

Out of the coronavirus cases in the state, Dr. Smith said 4.4 percent of the patients also had chronic lung disease in addition to the virus. Of the hospitalizations, 14 percent had the virus and chronic lung disease, and 16 percent of the cases in the ICU had the virus and chronic lung disease.

Of the total coronavirus cases, 2.1 percent had the virus and chronic kidney disease, according to Dr. Smith. Eight percent of those hospitalized due to the virus also had chronic kidney disease, and 11 percent of the patients in the ICU due to the virus also had chronic kidney disease.

Dr. Smith said it was a “good time to get as healthy as you can”.

Dr. Smith also mentioned that there have been 39 people who have been put on a ventilator due to the virus. Of those, five have successfully have come off the ventilator and nine have died, according to Dr. Smith.

Of the 704 cases, 96 of those are healthcare workers. Ten are physicians, 28 are nurses, four are certified nursing assistants, and the rest are licensed, unlicensed or unknown.

Sixty people have recovered from the virus as of Friday afternoon.

The governor also announced Friday that the first shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) procured by the state had arrived.

Dr. Cam Patterson, Chancellor for UAMS, said that his team is working with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management to distribute the gloves and masks. Patterson said there is a shipment from overseas that is expected around Sunday, April 12 that would deliver 30 days of PPE for Arkansas.

Dr. Patterson also said L’Oréal has promised to make 550 gallons of hand sanitizer per week at no charge.

Dr. Patterson said Friday that UAMS now has a mobile testing unit that will go across the state. The unit’s first stop was in Helena, where they screened 123 people and tested 30. Patterson says the results should come back later today.

Governor Hutchinson also said that state legislators will still meet for the fiscal session, but will be social distancing. The Arkansas House will meet in the Jack Stephens Center and State Senate will meet in their chambers. The governor said the fiscal session was not only a Constitutional requirement but needed because of the budget. Hutchinson said at the invitation of the General Assembly, he will present a State of the State Address in the Senate chambers, which will be broadcasted live to State Representatives at the Jack Stephens Center.

You can watch the full news conference above.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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