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Coronavirus in Arkansas: Governor Hutchinson, state leaders discuss cases, statewide survey


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson, Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith, infectious disease specialist Dr. Jose Romero and Steuart Walton, chairman of the Economic Recovery Task Force, discussed the current cases in Arkansas and a statewide survey on the coronavirus.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 25,246 total COVID-19 cases and 305 deaths in the state, according to Governor Asa Hutchinson. That is an increase of 734 cases and four deaths from Tuesday.

Dr. Smith said out of the 734 new cases, 104 was in a correctional facility and 630 were in communities.

Governor Hutchinson said the top counties for new cases is Pulaski County (87), Washington County (72), Benton County (60), Pope County (46), Mississippi County (39), Yell County (32), Johnson(26) and Saline (21).

State officials say they are seeing a high rate of cases per population in Sevier County, Yell County and Washington County.

The governor said he’s heard reports of people waiting in line to get tests done in Washington County. The governor encouraged people in Washington County to go to the public health unit and not just Washington Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Romero said people can get tests done at the public health unit in Washington County from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

According to Dr. Smith, there are currently 5,545 active cases of the coronavirus in Arkansas.

State officials say 358 people are in the hospital in Arkansas due to the virus. That is a decrease of 11 from Tuesday.

Dr. Smith said there are currently 79 people on a ventilator, which is a decrease of four from Tuesday.

State officials say there were 4,567 tests done Tuesday.

According to Dr. Smith, 19,396 people have recovered from the virus in Arkansas.

On Wednesday, Walton presented results from a statewide survey that asked 600 adults aged 18 years and older about their thoughts on the coronavirus and its impact on activities. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4%.

Forty-two percent of the adults surveyed said COVID-19 is the most important issue facing Arkansas.

According to the survey, 82% of the people surveyed said they wear personal protective equipment like a mask in public places. The age group who responded the lowest for the personal protective equipment question was 18-24 year olds, with 67% saying they do use personal protective equipment.

When asked about how Arkansas should handle the pandemic, 55% of those surveyed said it should be a regional approach while 35% said it should be a statewide approach.

When participants were asked if they favor large events, such as professional and college sports, resuming in the fall, 54% opposed, with 37% strongly opposed.

When parents were asked about how likely they were to send their children back to school this fall, 59% said they would likely while 32% say it would be unlikely.

When asked about doing in-person activities like going to the grocery store, getting a haircut, going to the gym, going to eat or going to church, 55% of the people surveyed said they were comfortable and 41% were uncomfortable.

Governor Hutchinson shared a letter from health care professionals from Northwest Health. They are selling masks for scholarships.

“We continue to have work to do,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson.

President Donald Trump threatened to withhold funding from schools who do not open.

The governor said he met with a group of teachers Wednesday to talk about this fall. According to the governor, the state is going to start school with in-class and some virtual combined, with the option of going virtual if needed.

The governor said Thursday’s daily update will focus on education.


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